One of the fantastic things about having a teenage daughter is that (sometimes) I get to do teenager-y things, such as going to see film adaptations of the YA books she has enjoyed, or watch TV which is supposed to be for kids. Yesterday we went to the cinema where we ate a ridiculously large tub of popcorn (which they called small!) and watched Catching Fire. The day before we watched The Day of the Doctor. Today, bits of them are beginning to blur.
When I read Catching Fire I felt that it was pretty much a re-hash of The Hunger Games. The middle book of a trilogy is always the most difficult, as it has to have enough to keep readers interested, but it is always a bridge between the beginning and the end. And you can’t spend too long re-hashing what’s happened before, but you also have to remind the readers about the important stuff. It’s a nightmare balancing act.
I had high hopes for the film though, as it was clearly going to have a huge budget and magnificent special effects. And it didn’t disappoint. The scenery was stunning, Katniss was a cross between a Ninja and a catwalk model, and President Snow was downright evil. Peeta seemed to have shrunk though – Katniss was towering over him – while Gale had turned into a 25-year old body-builder. But the whole thing wasn’t quite complete. It was a sequel waiting for the final part of the trilogy to wrap things up, and I left the cinema feeling faintly unsatisfied (and slightly ill from all the popcorn).
Then there was The Day of the Doctor, a fantastic, unbelievable romp through the personal TV history of viewers who have hit a certain age. The budget on that was clearly vast too, in comparison to the usual TV budget, although I bet it was no-where near what they spent on Catching Fire. There were some lovely retro-scenery moments, where doors and sets were clearly plastic, but with Doctor Who it really doesn’t matter. You love your Doctor, whichever one he is, and there is never any need to wrap things up, because he just keeps going. Little details from one series are scooped up in the next and woven together to create something magical. I think it’s astonishing how they do it. I was lucky enough to meet Steven Moffat recently, and he knows he has the best job in the word, writing the Doctor Who scripts. I just wish I had had longer to grill him on how he works it all out.
So, my vote for sci-fi favourite of the week is going to have to go to Doctor Who. What about you – which do you prefer? Are you Team Collins or Team Moffat?