Priscilla and I went to see Hairspray at the new Greater Union Gold Class cinema at Parramatta last week. A normal Gold Class ticket costs $30 but Priscilla and I were fortunate enough to have some gift vouchers we used.
We were a little surprised by the experience, to tell the truth. We were greeted by a staff member, who explained that they try to act like a good restaurant and sat down in a large lounge or bar to wait for our session to start. We were handed a large menu and advised that we can order food and drinks to be brought into us during the movie and what time we would like it.
Priscilla and I were running a bit late as we just wanted to watch the movie, not the ads and weren’t expecting this rigmarole. We quickly selected an ‘olive and cheese platter’ and a couple of drinks, then ushered in to our seats, which we had earlier picked while purchasing the tickets.
The seats are mechanised recliner chairs, set in pods of two with a small table between the two. We figured out how to operate the chairs, then the movie started and a few minutes later our food and drinks arrived. Well, actually, Priscilla’s drink arrived, mine went mysteriously missing but after the movie we saw that the table behind ours had a suspicious looking empty glass. After the movie we told them my drink hadn’t arrived and were handed a refund – $4.40 for a glass of coke! As an aside, the soft drinks are the only item on the whole menu that didn’t have a price next to them, understandable at $4.40 each. This is expensive for a regular soft drink, but about right for the movies, if you think about it.
While the experience was good, it didn’t feel that different to our setup at home. Dad has setup a high-definition wide-screen projector, we have two leather recliners, we can server beer or soft drink in glasses with nibblies or even dinner. The whole “Gold Class” experience isn’t that far from a good home theatre setup these days and you don’t have the communal experience that going to the cinema usually gives you.
We enjoyed the movie, by the way, although Priscilla felt uncomfortable with John Travolta and Christopher Walken being affectionate. Lots of colour, lots of fun.