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Movie Review: “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

Movie Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

         In the 2010s, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy took the world by storm, with both the books and the movie adaptations rising straight to the tops of the charts. This series follows Katniss Everdeen as she enters the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death that Panem’s government orders children to compete in annually. With only one survivor, the games are a cruel and brutal show of government power. While this is obviously a very dark topic, the series was beautifully written and came to life perfectly on the screen. The final movie was released 8 years ago, so fans were obviously very excited to hear that another movie was coming their way. This new movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is a prequel that shows us how the Hunger Games came to be, as well as how the evil President Coriolanus Snow rose to power. If you think you know The Hunger Games before watching this movie, you may just be left questioning everything.

       It’s safe to say that many big Hunger Games lovers were not only excited, but also a bit worried about the release of this movie. Between the fact that it’s been years since the previous movies release and the quality of all of the other films, there was a lot of room for disappointment. Additionally, one of the leading cast members of this movie, Rachel Zegler, had some controversy earlier this year when she was fired from her role as Snow White for seeming as though she thought she was too good for the part. All of these things considered, people felt protective of their beloved franchise and could only hope nothing would mess up this movie.

       Despite all of this, fear for this movie’s quality proved to be unnecessary. The Hunger Games came back to life before our very eyes like no time had passed at all. On top of that, Zegler clearly learned from her past mistakes because her performance as Lucy Gray Baird was spectacular. Both she and the male lead, Tom Blyth, delivered flawlessly at bringing these characters to us on the screen.

       Blyth definitely had a difficult role to play, trying to make us feel sympathetic towards the psychotic mastermind behind the Hunger Games, but his ability to show Snow’s descent to madness was groundbreaking. A lot of people actually seem to really love Coriolanus Snow in this movie despite his evil nature and the man we know he becomes. I found this pretty surprising because I think he was much less likable in the book when we were able to see what he was thinking throughout the story. Where in the movie he seemed like he had good intentions for Lucy and the Hunger Games at first, the book portrayed him as more controlling and possessive over everything right from the start. 

       As we watched Snow succumb to his desire for power, we got to know Lucy Gray through song. Every single one of Zegler’s musical performances throughout this film was beautiful and emotional, leaving everyone in the theater silent and in awe. The songs were pulled directly from the book and the lyrics truly reflected the characters feelings, which was very important to her story because we don’t really get to know much about Lucy personally outside of her role in Snow’s life. I have actually seen some people argue that Lucy Gray isn’t properly developed in the movie because of this, but I don’t think that we were supposed to leave the theater knowing her. Our lack of understanding of this character was a big part of the purpose of Lucy Gray because the world never really knew her either and I think it was done beautifully. Overall, the music, acting, and plot in this movie really couldn’t have been any better. It truly is a masterpiece.

       If this is somehow the first place you’re hearing about the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is doubtful because it’s currently the number one movie in the entire world, I strongly recommend you go and see it. You don’t necessarily need to have seen the other movies to understand everything that happens in this one, since it’s a prequel, but you will absolutely enjoy the movie more if you do decide to watch them beforehand. This is because this movie is jam packed with parallels and connections to the prior movies that add a lot to the overall story of The Hunger Games. Either way, you should hit the theater and watch this on the big screen while you still can. You won’t regret it.

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About the Contributor
Shannon Mahoney, Student Writer
Meet Shannon. She is a sophomore at ERHS this year and excited for her first year writing for The Gull. She enjoys writing about many different topics. This includes both news and more opinionated articles on entertainment or the arts. She is also a dancer and participates in a few other clubs at East Rockaway. In her free time she enjoys watching TV and movies, as well as reading books.

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    Isabella DeCunzoNov 28, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    This article is so good! That movie actually blew my mind. The way Blyth showed Snows switch in personality is just perfecto.

    • S

      SiennaJan 9, 2024 at 10:49 am