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The student news site of Fraser High School

The Flash

The student news site of Fraser High School

The Flash

Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Review


The most recent installment in the Hunger Games franchise: The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes, serves as a prequel to the other four movies. Directed by Francis Lawerence, this movie follows a young Coriolanus Snow(Tom Blynth), as he is tasked with mentoring a girl from District 12, Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler), and getting her through the 10th annual Hunger Games. This movie especially highlights Snow and his descent into the character we know him as in the original series. This along with the intro of new complex characters and the bold designs that make the Hunger Games world what it is; all help to contribute to making this possibly the best movie of the series.


Starting off, this movie is stacked with great characters. There is not one (main) character in this movie that is not filled with their own complexities. It is truly astounding how they were able to pull it off in a two-hour forty-minute timeline. Each character has their own struggles and very strong views that make every scene lit with intensity. Snow and Lucy start off almost immediately with great on-screen chemistry, and they instantly steal the show. But what makes their relationship so interesting is the contrast. They do not live similar lives, they don’t have the same views, and in many ways in the beginning they are using each other, but somehow it still works. They still bond and we can see them grow on screen. However, this is where we run into the biggest problem in this movie. The time spent developing these complex characters is time well spent, but it leaves little time to develop their bonds with each other, and I think if we had gotten just a little more of the character bonds it would improve the attachments and deepen the tragedies in this movie. 


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Aside from Lucy and Snow, the two immediate standouts to me were Casca Highbottom, co-creator of the Hunger Games (Peter Dinklage), and Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the current game maker of the games (Viola Davis). Both of these characters are brought to the screen wonderfully, and their performances are amazing. Highbottom, is a character who is struggling constantly, internally, with his decisions in the past. He is constantly haunted by his creation, wishing for it to end, but he cannot express that without losing his relevance. Gaul is a gamemaker, and she is truly insane. Her cruelty is palpable and her madness is bright and expressed through vibrance and colorful costume and makeup. These characters both have big on-screen presences, so the natural opposition of one of them being against and one of them for the games themselves makes for great tension when the characters are together.


This movie and its characters convey a very unique voice from the original Hunger Games series, it has a sort of calm darkness to it that really highlights the highs and lows and increases the intensity. While the cinematography itself seemed to be pretty generic except for a few key shots, the environments and visuals were beautiful. From multicolored snakes to a rubble-filled arena, or even the glum districts, this movie has a distinct style that shines through in every scene.


Speaking of voice, another huge portion of this movie was music (hence the title Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes). And almost all of that music comes from the character Lucy Gray. Except for a slightly off-southern accent, Zegler puts on a great performance as Lucy, and is really good at highlighting the duality of her character. Her performance really shines in her singing. This is where her character’s emotion comes through, and Zegler’s singing captures it very well. It also shows a form of growth since Zegler’s musical performances in West Side Story, with the ones in this movie being much more grounded and far more beautiful to listen to.


The final thing I want to touch on in this movie is the way it was formatted. This movie has three parts, and each is great and distinct in its own way. However, this means that the film tackles a lot of stories at once, so some things get a little lost or glossed over. Regardless, this movie has a good balance of characters and events; one of those events being the Hunger Games themselves. These games are not like the ones we’ve seen before, the stadiums are smaller, the contestants are weaker, and the kills are more personal. This lends very well to the movie, It makes it so much more captivating to watch and you feel way more sorrow for those forced into this tragedy. It also makes this by far the most intense of the other games we’ve seen on screen, both me and my sister viewing were on the edge of our seats nearly the entire time. This portion was without a doubt one of my favorites in the whole Hunger Games series.


Overall, I would give this movie a 4 out of 5. While it wasn’t perfect, and there were a few relationships I wished they developed more, It was definitely my favorite of the Hunger Games movies. As a warning I would say not to bring your young children to this movie, although it does have a PG-13 rating it is very dark and at some points very gruesome.


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