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

Photo Courtesy of IMDB.

Film Synopsis: 

 The Hunger Games prequel, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” was a riveting film brimming with persuasive acts, a fantastic wardrobe and makeup team, a compelling storyline, and a phenomenal film score. “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” was well-written and always had me waiting in anticipation, expecting the unexpected. A shocking scene, event, or moment always seemed around the corner. I recommend watching this movie if you haven’t already seen it, as the film delves into the notorious President Snow’s background, revealing a lot about his past in a thrilling and action-packed manner.


The story is set in Panem during the 10th annual Hunger Games. It follows the story of young Coriolanus Snow and his reign to power as the future President of Panem. In the film, Coriolanus is assigned as the mentor of headstrong tribute, Lucy Gray, during the 10th annual Hunger Games. Coriolanus and his peers are given mentorship positions for their new tributes as a new way of governing who the top student in Coriolanus’s school would be. If any of the students managed to get their assigned tribute to the spot as the victor, as a reward, the student who mentored the victor would obtain a grand prize called the “Plinth Prize.” The “Plinth prize” would be considered a full-ride scholarship today as it would cover full tuition to whichever University the prize winner chooses. 


Initially, Coriolanus is seen as an underdog as he mentors Lucy Gray because Lucy displayed rebellion when she was selected as a tribute. Coriolanus’s peers and even teachers doubted his capabilities to aid Lucy in becoming the victor of the 10th game. But that didn’t dishearten Coriolanus and his strong spirit from doing everything he could to secure Lucy’s spot as victor. During Corliolanus’s quest to protect Lucy from the sidelines as she dodges getting brutally murdered every hour and a half, they develop a deep emotional connection with one another. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans for Coriolanus as he is slowly pushed off the path, transforming from a guiltless and humble student eager to win a prize to a cold-blooded murderer who is willing to silence anyone who threatens his rise to power and fortune. 


The prequel Hunger Games movie takes multiple surprising twists. It makes it evident how life circumstances can change in an instant. When putting together all the changes and events that Coriolanus faced in his youth, you’ll begin to better understand how and why President Snow turned out the way he did. In the process, you’ll also get some insight into other characters in the Hunger Games trilogy, as the characters from the current film are closely knit to the characters from the trilogy. 

Overall Thoughts:

The movie was captivating, and there was never a dull moment. There are things I liked about the movie. However, there was also one central aspect of the film that I didn’t enjoy. I enjoyed the cast, first of all. The actor who played Coriolanus Snow was Tom Blyth, who did a fantastic job impersonating his role. I was convinced that he was Coriolanus Snow. I also really like the actor who played Lucy Gray, Rachel Zegler. She also did a great job in her role, and it was clear to see the passion and energy that Zegler put into her character. Zegler’s singing in the movie was also so beautifully soothing and peaceful. Something so majestic and comforting about Ziegler’s singing helped exemplify Lucy Gray’s strong and confident character.


 I also have to shout out to the actor Viola Davis, who brought her authoritatively diabolical character, Dr. Volumina Gaul (the person in charge of the annual Hunger Games), to life. Dr. Volumina Gaul played a crucial role in Coriolanus’s life as she was his role model. Dr. Volumina effectively groomed Coriolanus into the infamous President Snow by taking Coriolanus under her wing when he had no one else to turn to. She taught Coriolanus her evil ways of running the Hunger Games. Overall, the acting was phenomenal, making the movie even more enthralling. 


I also loved the intimacy seen between Coriolanus and Lucy. The love and/or intimacy Lucy and Coriolanus shared was a slow burn, even though it was evident from the start that they were physically attracted to each other. But with Coriolanus as Lucy’s mentor, making them dependent on one another’s survival, it was about time before they became emotionally entwined. Lucy relied on Coriolanus to help her survive the Hunger Games. Coriolanus relied on Lucy because she was his ticket to a better life in the capital with a possible full ride to a better education. It was cute to see how Lucy’s distaste towards the people in the capital faded because of her numerous interactions with Coriolanus. She was emotionally guarded because she believed all capital members would be untrustworthy. But once Lucy and Coriolanus got to a place of understanding in their relationship, they discovered they had much in common. Coriolanus was initially convinced by his older cousin Tigris to give Lucy a chance; this made Coriolanus recognize Lucy as more of a person than just a ticket to success. Coriolanus realized if the two of them were to make their partnership work, he would have to humble himself and become a bit more vulnerable with Lucy so that she could feel comfortable enough to trust him. The process of Lucy and Coriolanus feeling comfortable around each other and learning to trust each other was heartening. I love a good romance story, so this aspect of the Hunger Games movie was right up my alley.  


In reality, there was only one thing that bothered me in the Hunger Games movie, and that was the graphic scenes. Since this film is based on a dystopian novel, there are a lot of violent acts seen between the authoritative figures (the peacekeepers) and the people in the district (the rebels). There is a constant play of the insurgents fighting back and disobeying capital rules, causing the “peacekeepers” to act violently, typically by hanging the rebels on a tree in the district for the public to witness. These acts of violence were the capital’s way of trying to instill fear into the districts and hopefully make them stop trying to rebel and follow the system of order the capital has. But of course, there can’t be a dystopian theme without some rebellion, so multiple times throughout the film, people in the districts get hung, and it’s apparent even for the audience. The graphic details of seeing relatively innocent people getting brutally murdered are pretty uncomfortable and unsettling, so I do recommend mentally preparing yourself before watching the film because it gets violently graphic. 

The movie “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” was a pleasant and entertaining experience. I will likely watch the movie again, and I’m hoping for a continuation of the film. Hopefully, you watch the movie and take a little journey with Coriolanus as he ascends to power in the capital through his trials, tribulations, successes, and victories.

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