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“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” Review

The+Hunger+Games%3A+The+Ballad+of+Songbirds+%26+Snakes+Review

In a world where 24 children, ranging anywhere from 12 to 18 years old, are made to fight to the death every year, what would you do to survive? “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” asks this question time and time again, both inside and outside of the arena. The movie, directed by Francis Lawrence, follows a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), who served as the main antagonist in the original Hunger Games Trilogy. We come to learn how Snow went from being just any other teenager to becoming the cruel and sadistic ruler that he was.

The two-hour and 38-minute runtime of the film is divided into three main parts: The Mentor, The Prize and The Peacekeeper. However, despite being so lengthy, the movie never feels slow. It has incredible pacing, using the right balance between action-packed scenes and moments of peace.

In the first part of the movie, Snow meets Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), an eccentric girl he is tasked with mentoring for the 10th annual Hunger Games. To win the “Plinth Prize” and afford tuition for university, Snow must find a way to turn Lucy Gray into a winner. He tries whatever he can to set Lucy Gray apart from the other competitors. No matter if it’s appealing to the common folk, or meeting with her in the dark of night, Snow is determined to give Lucy Gray all the advantages he can.

The second part of the film is what typically comes to mind when thinking about this franchise: the actual games. The time has come for Lucy Gray to step foot into the arena and prove she’s a survivor. I’ve always loved seeing the different strategies used by contenders in previous movies, and that’s no different for “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”. Some people choose to fight and form alliances, while others hide in the shadows, using their wits to stay alive.

In the third and final part of the movie, Snow deals with reality after the games, and events happening in the arena that have altered the course of his life. He travels from the capital out to District 12, where things go from bad to worse. Events begin to trigger around him, and as an audience we watch everything spiral out of control. Yet through it all, Snow still somehow manages to land on top and assume the role of president of Panem.

This movie is thought-provoking, suspenseful and Insightful from start to finish. Though you do not need to have seen the previous Hunger Games movies to understand this film, there are a bunch of references and ties made to the original trilogy. I adore the attention to detail that was put into creating the sets and costumes for this film. Everything from the whimsical attire of those in the capital to the bleak and gray living conditions in the poorer districts helps to further build the world of The Hunger Games. Not only were the technical aspects of the movie amazing, but the performances by Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Josh Andrés Rivera and the rest of the cast were phenomenal.

One of my favorite things about this movie is how it finds the right moments to add comedic relief. The character of Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman) provides much-needed laughs throughout an otherwise very dark movie. Kids are dying left, right and center, yet his jokes never feel insensitive or out of place. Rather, they highlight the importance of good writing and help make the film even better.

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” was a wonderful film to experience. It takes you on a wild ride of twists and turns, never quite knowing what is going to happen next. The music and insane vocals from Rachel Zegler helped bring meaning to the piece that regular words couldn’t. By no means does the movie leave you satisfied, but that is okay. It presents an ambiguous ending that left me thinking long after it was over. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is overall a beautiful and tragic tale of a man, a woman and their fates.

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About the Contributor
Mallory Towers, Journalist
Mallory Towers is a sophomore at Community High School. This is her first semester on staff. When she's not focusing on math homework, Mallory enjoys baking, painting, and playing the drums. After school, you can usually find her at a CET rehearsal. Mallory loves animals, especially dogs, and has a passion for music. She cannot wait to grow as a journalist over the next year!

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