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The Student News Site of Hudson High School

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The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is the perfect addition to the series

Eight+years+after+the+last+movie%2C+Hunger+Games%3A+The+Ballad+of+Songbirds+%26+Snakes%2C+brings+us+back+into+the+brutal+world+of+Panem.+The+prequel+follows+the+future+president+of+Panem%2C+Coriolanus+Snow%2C+before+he+becomes+the+evil+manipulator+he+is+notorious+for+being.
A. Tallat-Kelpsa
Eight years after the last movie, Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, brings us back into the brutal world of Panem. The prequel follows the future president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow, before he becomes the evil manipulator he is notorious for being.

Eight years after the closing of The Hunger Games cinematic series, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes invites us back into the brutal world of Panem with a prequel to the previously known story. After generating nearly $3 billion at the box office and creating generations of loyal fans, the author of the beloved series, Suzanne Collins, released the book in 2020. Lionsgate announced its plan to turn the story into a major motion picture adaptation a month prior to the book’s release. 

Taking place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute and her first Hunger Games victory, the movie takes viewers back to well before her time. Following the future president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow, we see him before he becomes the evil mastermind and manipulator he is notorious for. The origin story is a deep look at power and the lengths people are willing to go to achieve it. 

Young Snow, played by Tom Blyth, is the best and brightest student at the Academy, a finishing school in Panem. He and 23 of his fellow students are tasked with mentoring tributes for the upcoming 10th annual Hunger Games in an attempt, by the Capitol, to improve the game’s viewership. If their tribute wins and their ratings go up, the mentoring student will be in the running for an impressive cash prize, the Plinth Prize. This is something Snow needs seeing as he’s been faking his wealth and is the last hope of his once-proud and now impoverished family. 

When Reaping Day comes, he is paired up with Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler, who is an entertainer currently residing at the time of the reaping in District 12. She was a natural performer and talented singer. Snow was smart enough to realize that the Capitol’s desire to renew the games and Lucy Grey’s survival were one and the same. He thinks that if he could make the citizens of the Capitol fall in love with her, people would watch. If people watch, the games continue and he is one step closer to winning the prize. As the movie progresses, the audience is shown more of the two characters’ chemistry, which is equal parts attraction and mistrust. 

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“Driven by its two charismatic leads, sharp writing, and well-executed storytelling, the prequel finds a way to be as thoughtful and agile as the best of the series,” claims Alex Abad-Santos, writer for Vox. Though this offers just one opinion, the movie was overall well-liked by fans of the franchise. In fact, some liked the characters a little too much. Seeing the backstory to the hated character Coriolanus Snow brought to life on screen makes it hard to forget about all the terror he causes in the main trilogy. We see a time when he wasn’t so evil and was instead just trying to figure things out, though his insanity does start to show towards the end of the film. 

“Snow goes from a moneyed pretty boy destined for entitled greatness to a clear-eyed manipulator intent on crafting his fate. It is a star-making performance,” writes Christy Lemire, from Rogebert, in a review of the movie. 

To differentiate the newly shown Lucy Gray from Katniss with her bow and arrow, Lucy shoulders a guitar. She is a member of a musical group called the Covey in District 12 and brings her talent into The Games. She first captures the attention of all viewers in Panem by performing a song on Reaping Day when she was chosen as a tribute for her district. Embodying the Songbird represented in the title, Lucy Grey makes music an essential part of the story. 

“To craft the ballads of the musical nomads, producer Dave Cobb and the creative team drew heavily from Appalachian-country folk music,” explains writer Jessica Wang. Zegler performed all of the songs live while the film was being filmed, harnessing skills from her previous starring role in the movie version of the popular musical West Side Story

Overall, the political and social themes of the original series are clearer in the movie than in previous parts of the series. The Games are shown as a sadistic form of punishment rather than a glamorous and overdone tradition. The arena where the killing takes place is a pile of rubble, not a high-tech, computer-operated, forest-placed arena. There is nothing to distract from what is really happening and the Capitol’s real intentions are further revealed, making the movie very entertaining to watch. I would definitely recommend the movie to anyone who liked the original series. The three-part movie was captivating from start to finish and brought back memories from childhood obsessions. 

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Sara Ackerman
Sara Ackerman, Reporter
Sara is a freshman at Hudson High School. This is her first year writing for The Explorer. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and hanging out with friends in her free time. Sara is involved in multiple clubs such as Hudson Community First and Outdoor Society, she also plays for the girls field hockey team. Sara is excited to start her first year writing for the Explorer.
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