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Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Review

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes serves as a prequel to the original trilogy. Written by the same author Suzanne Collins and directed by Francise Lawrance, the same director as Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1&2. Spoilers ahead so beware.

Set 64 years prior to the original trilogy, Panem is still recovering after the big war. Protagonist young Coriolanus Snow is determined to restore the Snow familys wealth after his fathers passing in the war. Snow is will serve as a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games. The story explores Snow's early life, his struggles, and his transformation into the ruthless President Snow we encounter in the later books and movies. The plot delves into the political and social dynamics of Panem, shedding light on the origins of the Hunger Games and the Capitol's oppressive regime. Coriolanus becomes entangled with the female tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird, leading to a complex and morally challenging journey for both characters.

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Snows character development makes sense after seeing the prequel. He starts out as a kid who only focused on his studies, helping his only surviving family and trying to secure a bright future for them all. Tom Blyth (Coriolanus Snow) and Rachel Zegler (Lucy Gray Baird) did amazing at bringing the characters to life, but one thing I did notice that set apart the versions were Snows determination in the book was one of his biggest traits. Every relation he had with clasmates, family, Lucy and others were always calculated which made him appear more manic and fixated on his one true goal: making Snow land on top. In the movie, Snows is more malleable, he goes with the flow which is a big difference. Snow in the book never let his guard down which did not translate the same to the screen compared to in the book.

Killing your darlings is crucial when addapting a book to the big screen. key moments that might set the tone in the book might not make it to the screen becasue the pacing has to be somewhat cohesive for the audience not to loose interest. Some parts felt rushed and at certain times I noticed others in the theater pick up their phones and scroll and not pay as much attention to the movie. Regardless, I enjoyed the overall flow of the scenes and they mashed well one after the other.

The overall impression of the movie is that it holds up and succeeded in bringing the book to the big screen. It did not feel like a lesser version of the other movies, it did a good job at showing how the games evolved to what they would become and it gave us more knowledge about Panems history.


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