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“The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”: Recap and Review

The latest edition to “The Hunger Games” franchise, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” has lived up to the fanbase’s high expectations.
Starring many well-known actors such as Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” was a highly anticipated film for many fans.
Rylee Newland
Starring many well-known actors such as Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” was a highly anticipated film for many fans.

Based on the 2020 novel by Suzane Collins, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” has been highly anticipated by fans of the series. Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy took the Young Adult dystopian world by storm, after the release of the first book in 2008. Based on the original three books, four movie adaptations were created, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. Years after the popular trilogy dropped and gained traction, Collins announced a fourth book in the series, one that would take place 64 years before the events of “The Hunger Games” fans knew and loved. A prequel to “The Hunger Games,” “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” gives fans a glimpse into the life of a young Coriolanus Snow, and the events that ultimately mold him into the infamous villain of “The Hunger Games” series. 

The newest movie in the world of “The Hunger Games” features an entirely new cast, with a returning appearance from producer, Francis Lawrence. (Ryl)

Set in the future post-war world of Panem, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” follows the tenth annual Hunger Games and the life of Coriolanus Snow, after his, once wealthy, family’s downfall. An event that serves as punishment for the Districts and their disobedience against the Capitol during the war, the Hunger Games forces two tributes from each of the 12 Districts to fight to the death in an event viewed by the nation. The designer of the Games, Doctor Volumnia Gaul, announces that the tenth annual Hunger Games will have a special twist to increase public attention. As students of the Capitol’s Academy, Coriolanus Snow and his classmates must participate in the annual Hunger Games as mentors to assigned tributes. Doctor Gaul proposes a cash prize as an incentive to the students for their performances. Attempting to hide his own less-than-ideal home life, Coriolanus is determined to win the Games and the prize, however, he is met with an unexpected obstacle: Lucy Gray Baird, his assigned tribute. 

Lucy Gray, the female District 12 tribute, is bright, bold, and determined. A member of a traveling musical group, The Covey, Lucy Gray quickly gains the nation’s attention from her brilliant musical performances. Coriolanus and Lucy Gray develop a delicate bond of mentor and mentee. But preparation for the Games brings bigger complications than they both anticipated. As Lucy Gray battles for her life in the Hunger Games arena, Coriolanus does everything in his power to help from outside, even if that means crossing the line between good and evil. In the end, Coriolanus must make the choice between love or power; secrets or honesty; and Lucy Gray or the Capitol. 

Upon its release on November, 17th, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” immediately began gaining positive attention. Almost perfectly capturing the events and details of the book, there’s no doubt why this movie was a hit among fans. The movie is not only an extremely accurate adaptation of the book, but it also includes several cinematographic elements that contribute to a successful film. The costumes, set, and soundtrack combine to make the world of Panem created in the book become a reality on the screen. With songs from popular artists such as Olivia Rodrigo, to music from Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler) herself, the soundtrack has been a major point of discussion. Along with the soundtrack, the costume department played a huge part in the film’s success. Specifically in the creation of Lucy Gray’s iconic colorful dress, the costume department made great contributions to bringing the characters to life accurately. Additionally, the cinematography itself is extremely visually appealing, creating the beautiful world of Panem through elements of architecture and color described in the book. 

The movie was not only successful because of these elements, but because of the many “hidden secrets” that only original fans can appreciate. The film includes several parallels drawn between Lucy Gray and Coriolanus, and the infamous Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from Collins’ trilogy. Additionally, the movie includes several references to the original “The Hunger Games,” such as the famous “Hanging Tree” song and ironic play on Katniss’ name through a plant Lucy Gray shows to Coriolanus. 

To say the least, this film did not disappoint. With a great balance of romance, comedic relief, and an intense villain arc storyline, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” seems to be the perfect addition to “The Hunger Games” franchise. Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, and the other cast members have been welcomed with open arms into “The Hunger Games” community, as their show-stopping performances left fans impressed with the casting and acting quality. Without a doubt, this film will continue to spark conversation and admiration from both lifelong fans and newcomers alike.

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About the Contributor
Rylee Newland, Multimedia Manager
Rylee is a senior at Liberty. This is her second year on the journalism staff. She is involved in Best Buddies and NHS here at Liberty. Outside of school, Rylee enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and listening to music.