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Movie Review of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is out now in theaters near you. The prequel delves into the formative years of Panem as the audience experiences the 10th annual Hunger Games. 
The+Hunger+Games+prequel+has+hit+theaters.
The Hunger Games prequel has hit theaters.

The movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is out now in theaters near you. The prequel delves into the formative years of Panem as the audience experiences the 10th annual Hunger Games. 

The film stars Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman and Hunter Schafer. Directed by Francis Lawrence (who also directed the original movies in the Hunger Games franchise), the film achieves his goal of offering drama, excitement and creating a spectacle. The protagonists’ intricate acting aids in delivering the film’s complex narrative. 

Critics argue that the movie was a “dystopian bummer” when compared to the original four films, but it is having incredible success with younger audiences and fans of the franchise. This film, aside from hitting #1 on Letterboxd, with $100.8M in ticket sales, served as a breakout role for Blyth and a continuation of Ziegler’s spoilt leading roles. 

Divided into three (long) chapters, the film follows Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as he remains the last hope for his failing lineage. He and his fellow Capitol University classmates are matched with a Tribute from the Districts to compete in the Hunger Games. For context, the ‘Games’ themselves are a punishment invented by the Capitol of Panem put into place as revenge against the districts, following the rebellion. Every year on ‘Reaping Day’, a boy and a girl from each district are chosen by lottery to fight to the death in a televised spectacle. In the film, Snow is tasked to mentor Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler) from District 12, who forms part of a Covey (a musical group that performed in the districts). While they unite their instincts for showmanship and political cleverness, their battle will ultimately reveal who is a songbird and who is a snake.

Lucy Gray, unlike Katniss with her iconic bow and arrow, instead uses song to attract audiences during her journey to the games. While Katniss was more focused on surviving through the utilization of her hunting skills, Lucy survives by putting her performance skills to the test. The movie reveals Lucy’s role in creating the infamous song: “The Hanging Tree”, which Katniss sings in the original movies. Though for many, the attraction is not Lucy, it is Snow’s story. Lucy is Snow’s ticket out, so naturally he helps her win the games and inevitably falls in love. Save your sympathy, as Snow’s journey to the dark side is comparable to that of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise. 

Through the gruesome events, the film offers comedic relief through the infamous Lucky Flickerman, an ancestor of Stanley Tucci’s Cesar Flikerman from the previous films, who hosts the games. “Smile,” he tells the audience, “it’s why we have teeth.” 

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes balances action-filled harrowing moments and fraught quiet ones as Lawrence persuasively establishes the world’s political and emotional stakes which exist on the edge of insanity. All this, while viewers watch Snow spiral into insanity and become the cunning character recognized from the original movies. The film acts as a prequel to the original movies, doing the franchise justice by enriching its narrative.

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About the Contributor
Andrea Criado Galindo, Staff Reporter
Andrea Criado, is a senior and writer for the culture and bilingual barons sections. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, reading and walking her dog.

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