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  • Soraya Ladjili

The Hunger Games Prequel Review

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a dystopian action film starring Rachel Zegler (Lucy Gray Baird) and Tom Blyth (Coriolanus Snow), directed by Francis Lawrence. 

In this prequel to the iconic Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, we follow the story of Coriolanus Snow, future president of the nation and top student at the Capitol Academy. Coriolanus was selected as one of 24 mentors of the 10th annual Hunger Games, alongside his fellow classmates. By destiny, his mentee is the songbird of district 12, Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray is the lead singer of her covey, a traveling band, who always sings for a cause.

As a past Hunger Games fanatic, I am happy to announce that this film did not disappoint. Although not all the specifics were captured, since a movie can only be so long, I thought that it was a very adequate representation of the book. The way the film progressed had the theatre on the edge of their seats the entire 2 hours and 37 minutes. 

The casting was on point, and the actors’ performances instantly put to rest any hate comments that were being made on the internet about Rachel Zegler, and launched to new heights Tom Blyth’s acting career. 

The details of the costumes were amazing and as true to the book as possible. Certain subtle lines let spectating fans make connections to the original series on their own, making it even more engaging. A fun easter egg I found was that the plants embroidered on Lucy Gray’s dress are swamp potatoes called Katniss! There are some conspiracies that Lucy Gray might even be Katniss (protagonist of the original trilogy) Everdeen’s grandmother, but none of that is confirmed.

The only warning I would give to anyone unfamiliar with the Hunger Games, is that it does get violent during the arena scenes, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who is easily put off by blood and brutality. The children are selected to fight to the death, and the violent mentality gets to them almost instantly. The overwhelming experience of the Hunger Games dehumanizes its participants. The few who are lucky enough to preserve their humanity usually don’t make it very far but remind the audience of how unethical this tradition is.

All in all, even if you haven’t read the books or seen the previous movies, I would still highly recommend this movie!

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Rated PG-13. Running time: 157 minutes. In theaters December 2023.

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