The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) - Filming &  production - IMDb

This was the best prequel I think I have ever seen. I usually assume prequels will suck, but this one blew me away. If you are a fan of the original Hunger Games series or want to get into the Hunger Games series, go watch this movie! I am going to preface this by saying I have not read any of the Hunger Games books (I was not into reading when the books came out when I was like 8, but now I read so don’t worry I’m on it). 

Going into this I really didn’t know much about what the story would entail but this movie adds so much depth to the character of Snow and backstory to the games that really explains so much. We get to really see why Snow is the way that he is and how he got to be so evil. In the beginning, he appears to be such a nice guy and you watch him progressively become more and more evil. He’s selfish, driven by ambition and will do whatever it takes to get what he believes he is entitled to. 

His character arc is so interesting, I really liked the nature vs nurture take on Snow. He is just like his father whom he was not raised by, yet he is also caring and gentle in the beginning, like his cousin who nurtured him. In the end, Tigris says he looks just like his father, a man we understand is to be feared for most of the movie. The reality is that his father basically created the games, and Snow is the reason they will continue. 

Snow brings a sense of humanity to the games, letting the public get to know the tributes before the games, giving them people to root for, and allowing them to be seen as humans instead of animals or the enemy. I found this to be an interesting part of Snow's character, given you never would have known this wasn't originally part of the games or that Snow came up with it. It is through this that he also gets to know Lucy Gray on a more personal level and coaches her to be a Capitol favourite. I like to think that it's because of that that Snow cheats to save Lucy Gray because he learns to love her, but I think his actions were driven more by his need to win. 

I love this cast so much, it's such a great group of actors. One of my favourite characters was Tigris (Hunter Schafer), who I completely forgot was a character in The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2. Her outfits reminded me of Effy from the original series. Hunter was absolutely stunning and amazing in this role. Tom Blyth who portrays Snow also blew me away, especially as this was his first mainstream lead role. He is so talented and I admire the way he was able to portray the range that the character has. Shifting from this person who has so much love in his heart for the people around him to a deranged killer and dictator of a new world. I love Rachel Ziegler and as always she was fantastic, her singing voice is so beautiful. I was so happy to see she had been cast in this movie. 

Viola Davis was insane in this movie and I loved it. She portrays such a powerful and chaotic character. I wish they gave some more backstory as to how she got to be a game maker. Her character kind of acts like a mentor to Snow once she sees something in him. Which, I assume is in connection to his father and being like him. 

This movie is not a love story, but the love and friendship turned betrayal between Snow and Lucy Gray makes for such a messed-up kind of love story. Now the quote from Snow, which they re-used at the end of the film “It's the things we love most that destroy us” makes sense. Snow is not a trusting person, and he feels the most betrayed by Lucy Gray. He also presumably has to live with the fear of the “loose end” Lucy Gray being out in the world somewhere. He also has to live with the guilt that maybe he killed her. 

Now everyone’s big question, what happened to Lucy Gray? I’ve seen a lot of theories that either she is a distant relative of Katniss, that she lives in District 13, or that she continues to live in the woods somewhere in District 12. I honestly don’t think we will ever know the answer unless Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games) decides to write another book or give us the answers. I like to think that Lucy Gray is still alive during the 74th and 75th Hunger Games and lives her life out in the woods with the Coveys somewhere. It's such an interesting way to leave the movie on this huge cliffhanger, especially since she is obviously absent from the previous Hunger Games movies.

I would love to see another movie in some capacity with these characters. I think this is too good of a cast to just do one movie and be done. I would also like to see a movie or series on Haymitch’s Hunger Games year or more on the forming of Panam. I think this is still such an interesting world and they really don’t make YA movies like this anymore. I really miss the era of Divergent, Hunger Games, and Maze Runner movies. I loved this movie so much and I recommend it to everyone. I had such a good time, go see this movie in theatres right now. Also "The Hanging Tree" has been stuck in my head since Sunday and it is now Thursday. 


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