Hollywood#039;s movie magic returns to Camellia City

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2007

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 &#8220Death 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 &#8220Thunderball.” 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 &#8220Ratatouille” 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, &#8220Ratatouille” 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 &#8220anyone 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.

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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.

Thanks and stay cool if you can!

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.