The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes brings us back to Panem with the 10th Annual Hunger Games, decades before Katniss Everdeen had volunteered as tribute, eventually winning the 74th Hunger Games that soon lead into a revolution.
Singing a Ballad
In this prequel, we are introduced to Coriolanus Snow, played by Tom Blyth, as a teenager full of ambition to restore the status of his family that had fallen after the war that took place in Panem. His life wasn’t so easy, having to starve himself for the sake of his family, on top of being too poor to pay for rent. The Plinth Prize was his only hope to get him out of that rut, and he worked his whole life at the Academy in hopes of getting the prestigious prize.
Things didn’t go as planned as changes were introduced for the prize, and now Snow finds himself being indirectly involved in the 10th Hunger Games as a Mentor to the tribute from District 12 , Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler. Desperate by the situation, Snow and Lucy work together to win the game through underhanded tactics which eventually landed them into a bigger problem.
The movie features three important parts of Snow’s life starting from his involvement with the Hunger Games until he returns to the Capitol with a new cold personally that we all knew as the future president of Panem.
I really liked the way this movie develops the character of Snow without a single scene being wasted. The plot was well organised and even adapts materials from the novel in a faithful manner. As a reader of the series, I really appreciated the effort that was given for the prequel and dare I say the better adaptation I’ve seen from the series. It’s certainly a big relief that this movie wasn’t split in two parts as the momentum would’ve been lost if it had been produced that way.
For those who might not be familiar with the source material, you won’t be seeing much action from the Hunger Games itself, rather the movie shines a spotlight on Snow as a character and how he became who he is. Regardless, there were still some great action going on inside the small arena, which definitely shows a lot of differences compared to the future Hunger Games arenas. Even so, the core of the game is still retained, whoever is the last one alive, will be crowned the winner of the Hunger Games.
Shining In The Arena
The costume design is one of the things that the Hunger Games movies are good at, and you can totally feast your eyes on it in this movie as well. It does complement the setting pretty well, with people from the Capitol being dressed in lavish suits and dresses, in contrast to those from other districts, which maintains the whole disparity in social status and class that we’ve previously seen from the previous movies.
Considering that The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is set in a post-war setting, most parts of the Capitol are still developing, with most of the buildings currently in works. District 12 has the typical mining sites but with a pretty hideout beyond the forest.
One of the things that makes the prequel even enjoyable is the score and the music performed by Lucy. Be it a peaceful day, dancing in the bar, or an action scene in the area, the score fits the given situations really well. It’s just really nice to hear the Hunger Games theme again.
Citizens of Panem
Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth certainly stole the show as the played a great role in making this film enjoyable. Rachel’s singing talent adds in more flavour to the film with her various stage performances. The song “Hanging Tree” which became a core part of the Hunger Games series was also performed, although in a slightly different rendition from the version sung by Katniss.
Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow also gave a great performance. The way he plays Snow is so good that you can really see the difference between the Snow from the beginning of the movie till the moment he turned rebellious after receiving pressure from various parties, which eventually made him into the cold-hearted person at the end of the movie.
Another performance that stood out to me was Viola Davis who played Dr. Volumina Gaul. From the moment her character was introduced, you can already feel the antagonistic aura exuded by the game maker. It was certainly quite vicious to see how subtle she is when cornering Snow into doing bad things and corrupted his mind to become the way he is in the future.
I Volunteer as Tribute
If you read the novel or watch The Hunger Games trilogy before, it’s totally worth the time to watch The Hunger Games : The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It’s one of the best adaptation of the series and gives you another perspective of Panem’s history and how the tyrant President Snow became the way he is now. The actor’s performances were also top notch at how well they portray their characters in the movie.
Check This Out Next
- Best adaptation in the Hunger Games series
- Amazing performances by the Actors & Actresses
- Great costume design
- Those who enjoy the Hunger Games for its action might be slightly disappointed