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Hollywood's Movie magic Returns to Camellia City

Hollywood's movie magic returns to Camellia City

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 9:36 AM CDT

I honestly don't recall the last movie I saw at the Ritz Theatre before its doors were closed. (I do remember a couple of baddies at the old Camellia Drive-In, one in particular a sci-fi rotten tomato called “Death Ray 3000,” which I believe was shot on a budget of approximately $2.56. If only I could forget it.)

I do recall the very first movie I saw at the Ritz, with Sean Connery as Agent 007 in “Thunderball.” I was just shy of five years old. A lot of the sophisticated elements of the film went over my head.

Still, there were exciting chases, cool gadgets and a handsome leading man with a funny accent and great dimples (I confess I've had a crush on the Scottish actor ever since).

Seeing the story unwind in color (we just had a black-and-white television at the time) on that giant screen was magical.

More than 40 years later, I still find the movie experience a magical one.

These days at home we have an LCD HD TV with a vivid, crystal-clear picture. We have Surround Sound capabilities through the stereo and a jillion channels, courtesy of our satellite subscription.

It can be quite a stunning visual/audio experience, a long way from that portable B&W set with the rabbit ears we used to watch in the farmhouse.

Still, it's not quite the heart-stopping ride of a visit to a real movie theatre.

Last week, I got the chance to go to the movies again in Greenville.

Thanks to Marty Felts and all the folks at The Edge, I enjoyed seeing “Ratatouille” at the grand opening last Thursday night.

I found a seat in the cool of the theater, settled into the bucket-seat-like rocking chair, stretched out my legs and rested my Diet Coke in the cupholder.

As usual, Disney Pixar delivered with a delightful tale of a French farmhouse rat named Remi who has a superb nose for all things gastronomic.

Yes indeed, the rat is a gourmet chef in the making, who discovers just what a gift he has after being swept through the sewers to the City of Lights - Paris.

While it is superbly-done CGI animation, “Ratatouille” is definitely not just for the kiddies. I heard the adults in the audience chuckling as much (if not more) than the youngsters.

We enjoyed exciting chase scenes through a restaurant kitchen and comic relief from such characters as a height-challenged head chef with a hot temper and huge ego, and Remi's guardian angel, the late Chef Gusteau, a jovial pudding of a man who believed anyone can cook.”

And Paris - well, it looked beautiful, very much like the real city, with its fairy-tale charm.

I drank in all the colors, the music, the sound effects, all bigger than life and right in front of me.

I felt like a kid again, in the best kind of way.

Thank you, Marty and company, for bringing movie magic back to the Camellia City.

Remember how I asked you to send me those great story ideas and submissions by e-mail? Well, wouldn't you know, my work computer decided to die on me again early last week. I haven't been able to retrieve any office e-mail since then (as of Sunday night), so if you have sent me anything, please re-send to editor@greenvilleadvocate.com . You may also e-mail me at home at along@alaweb.com. Hope the problem will soon be (or already is) resolved.

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