Magic, Marketing, and T-1000s

July 09, 2015

Today I was transported to another world.

 

Not literally, of course. If that had happened, I’d be blogging over there instead of here. And as far as I can tell, I’m still firmly trapped in this reality. It’s probably more accurate to say that my heart and soul were transported.

 

How did it happen? I’d love to tell you it was by means of a top-secret alien technology or the experimental efforts of scientists in a parallel universe. But it was neither. All I did was drive to my local cinema to watch Terminator: Genisys.

 

 

Now before you go all “well, duh” on me, let me tell you that the whole movie-going experience has changed for me over the last year. Before becoming a published author, it was fairly common to have my entire being wrapped up in the awesomeness of the silver screen. The music, characters, plot, and special effects were often enough to render me oblivious to reality, and I would leave feeling completely emotional and inspired.

 

Um…it’s a little tougher to get to that level now.

 

The publication process is fascinating, and there are many aspects that I find delightful. Some of them, though, require more of a marketing mindset. I was asked to work on things I’d never really paid much attention to before. Like tag lines, or copy for a book trailer. Things I’d always looked at through the eyes of a consumer. It changed me.

 

And lately, movies haven’t felt quite the same. They’ve lost their luster, you could say. Trailers are just a series of images stuck between tag lines, and plots follow patterns or formulas. It’s actually disheartening to step away from consumer-vision—because instead of seeing magic, I end up seeing marketing strategy.

 

I’ve been hoping that will change over time. Fortunately, there have been a few exceptions. I was thrilled when both Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys allowed me to forget the marketing stuff and become engrossed in the films. And I think I know why: they’re a fresh take on stories that are already near and dear to my heart.

 

The Terminator franchise is especially dear. The first movie came along during my impressionable teen years, and I was hooked. I now own all the movies (along with both seasons of the Sarah Connor Chronicles) and have repeatedly fallen in love with the characters and their world. I never get tired of watching them. So when I walked into the cinema today, my level of anticipation was high. There was no need to draw me into the film with any kind of marketing gimmick…my head and heart were already deeply rooted in the story.

 

Could it have gone wrong? Could I have been disappointed? Possibly, if the movie had been a straight-up remake. But it wasn’t. It took all the awesome elements of the original films and mixed in some cool plot twists (which are pretty effective when you’re dealing with time travel). And the special effects were incredible.

 

The result? I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen! I laughed, gasped, jumped, and had a few mini heart attacks. I related to how the characters used to be and how this new timeline impacted their lives. There was one moment near the end that made me cry (then I couldn’t stop). After it was over, I just sat there, overwhelmed, as reality slowly kicked in and reminded me to go home and finish the laundry.

 

 

I know the movie won’t impact everyone the way it did me today. Most people haven’t immersed themselves in Terminator history like I have, which puts me in the minority. But it was such a relief to be “all in” for a while…to set aside my logic and experience the magic that I thought I’d lost.

 

So it was a heart-and-soul thing, and I wasn’t actually transported to a world dominated by Skynet. If that ever happens, though, I’m taking a TON of magnets. Those T-1000s won’t know what hit them. :)

 

Photo credit: Terminator image via Insider Publications; Sad Moment image via Pinterest 

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C.L. Denault is the author of Gambit, a thrilling YA dystopian novel released March 2015 by REUTS Publications.

 

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