I had a rather ambivalent response to the first film of The Hunger Games series, which I reviewed on this blog in January last year. I thought it was an exciting drama, but was unconvinced by Jennifer Lawrence in the primary role. This sequel carries straight on with the story, and suffers from the common mid-trilogy problem of not having a proper beginning (that was in the first film) or ending (that will be in the last – although I see that the final book is to be split into two films), so it lacks a satisfying dramatic structure. Furthermore, there is much repetition in the basic action scenario of jungle combat. However, the plot does take a new turn, focusing on the growing spirit of rebellion in the regions and the President's reaction it, and it remains interesting throughout. Despite this, I still don't understand why Ms Lawrence receives such praise; apart from a few crying fits she spends most of the time looking blandly impassive – animated she is not! Some of the supporting characters are much more memorable, particularly Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks. Sadly, Philip Seymour Hoffman died before completing work on the next film.
I have now finished the second season of Continuum. While inevitably lacking the freshness and originality of the first season, this is still well worth watching. Rachel Nichols continues to deliver an impressive performance as the law officer from the future who is stranded in our present, with the help of a strong supporting cast. For the first time, I did find something to irritate me, though. She finally decides to confess to her police partner that she comes from the future, but he is totally incredulous and thinks she is insane. This goes on for a while, when all the time she is wearing a suit which makes her invisible at will and a weapon which unfolds itself before use, but it never seems to occur to her to prove her case in a few seconds by demonstrating these to him. I do hate this obvious kind of plot hole, contrived purely to spin out the drama, as the programme makers seem to assume that the audience is so stupid that we won't notice. Despite this, I will still look forward to the third season becoming available in the UK.