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Golden Compass Premiere, Victoria Point, Australia

9am, December 26th. The horde of His Dark Materials fans gather around the front door of the still closed Victoria Point Cinema in eager anticipation of the 10.30am showing of the movie. Okay I lie, it’s just me. But by 9.30 some others have joined me in the wait for the cinema to open; not until 9.50. There are some here for Golden Compass too; but mostly just for a Boxing Day morning movie.

Finally the doors open; and I am the first person in the cinema to purchase a Golden Compass ticket, and lucky I was so early. After barely a minute, the cinema foyer is already packed. A busy morning; but no different to any other really. You could hardly imagine that one of the biggest movies of the year was going to be showing for the first time in little over half an hour.

It is nothing compared to one of the major premieres, but excitement is in the air; or is that just left over from Christmas Day? It is hard to tell.

For certain, Christmas songs provide the pre-movie soundtrack. Conversation does not settle on the movie yet; the lights that gently fade from colour to colour hold most of the attention; especially amongst the children.

It seems as if everyone who watches movies at the cinema is split into just two groups. Those; like me; who arrive insanely early, and then those who arrive only just on time. The cinema was about a quarter filled with the insanely earlier, and then a lull in arrivals until just ten minutes before the movie began. Eventually the cinema was almost full; I’d estimate around one hundred and fifty people had turned by the time the movie began.

Most of the audience consists of parents with their children (you can tell everyone is hoping they’ll all behave), a few elderly people (I even saw my former English teacher – fortunately she didn’t see me), and then there were a few on their own (like me). A healthy mixture of people really, the advertising campaign was well done it would appear.

Eventually the trailers begin, and the excitement really does grow now, everyone is quiet in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the Golden Compass. A brief laugh at a panda voiced by Jack Black warning everyone to turn off their mobile phones, and the unnatural quiet resumes.

I hear a young boy behind me get all excited at “the talking lion” in the trailer for the next Narnia film; Prince Caspian. I wonder how he’ll react to all the talking animals in Golden Compass; especially the talking bear; Iorek.

And then when the screen goes black and the movie prepares to start the usual hushing whispers that make more noise than what they are trying to hush begin and then fade away too... everyone waits... the movie begins.

I shall not say what happens in the movie so as not to ruin it for anyone else who still hasn’t seen it; but I will say that the next 130 minutes was well worth the $5.30 I paid to watch the movie. And I think it’s fair to say everyone else in the cinema did too.

By the end of the movie, everyone was now talking about The Golden Compass. And sure enough the ‘talking lion boy’ was having an animated discussion with his mother about the Iorek – Ragnar fight scene... the kid loved it. He clearly went home very happy. And as for everyone else? I heard several men talking about the “rather sexy witches,” so they were happy with that much at least. And the women of course had Daniel Craig; there could have been no complaints from any of them there.

So The Golden Compass has hit Australian shores at last. And if Victoria Point is anything to go by, then I’m sure it’s going to do quite well.

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