PHS MOVIES: HUNGER GAMES – THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES

Snow falls on top
“Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” releases in theatres with mixed reviews.
“Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” releases in theatres with mixed reviews.
Ethan Cartier

The newest installment to the “Hunger Games” film franchise, “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” hit theatres several weeks ago [November 17] with mixed reviews upon release.

The 2023 film currently sits at a 64% critic rating and an 89% audience rating on the film and television review website Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has also received a 7.2/10 on the Internet Movie Database [IMDB]

“I had no hopes going in,” junior Kenan Lind said. “I was very surprised on how good it was because I wasn’t expecting much coming from really any new films recently with how stuff is coming out.”

I had no hopes going in. I was very surprised on how good it was because I wasn’t expecting much coming from really any new films recently with how stuff is coming out.

— junior Kenan Lind

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” much like the novel by Suzanne Collins, primarily focuses on the rise of Coriolanus Snow, played by Tom Blyth [“Billy the Kid”], and his contributions to the Hunger Games.

“It was honestly a really good book,” junior Jordan Black said. “It definitely gives a lot of background story on [Snow] from the original ‘Hunger Games’ because I never knew that much about Snow until I read the book.”

Many critics and fans alike have credited the movie with having a rushed third act, essentially trying to make Snow the villain from the original franchise as fast as possible. 

“They made him really kind hearted, and then he was just bad all of a sudden,” senior Abby Eaton said. “Like it didn’t really show what made him bad. It got to the point too quickly, and it didn’t really show what happened.”

They made him really kind hearted, and then he was just bad all of a sudden. Like it didn’t really show what made him bad. It got to the point too quickly, and it didn’t really show what happened.

— senior Abby Eaton

Though many have complained about the rushed characterization of the film and the overall “dull” or “bland” script, a lot of people have found enjoyment in the prequel and the story it tells for its main lead.

Cinematography is also at an all-time high for the movie adaptations of the franchise. 

In addition to Snow, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” also follows Lucy Gray Baird, portrayed by Rachel Zegler [“Westside Story”] who participates in the actual Hunger Games, the first of which to be televised.

“[Lucy Gray’s character] is very different,” Lind said. “The way her character is built up is really unique and not what I was expecting.”

Though the movie has been faced with the hard task of selling its premise to audiences to get them to go to theatres to watch the film and has heard numerous complaints, the newest edition to the “Hunger Games” franchise still finds a way to be a crowd-pleasing, entertaining prequel to the villainous President Snow and the hunger games event as a whole.

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