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Film review – The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 

The much-anticipated prequel to the iconic Hunger Games franchise has finally hit the silver screen, nearly eight years after the last movie’s release. Suzanne Collins, the mastermind behind the dystopian series, once again pulls it off with “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” a novel published in 2020 that has now been brought to life as a film.

Returning director Francis Lawrence maintains the cinematic excellence for which the films are known. Collaborating closely with Collins, Lawrence translated the novel onto the big screen. 

The film takes place during the 10th Hunger Games, with the main character being the young President Snow, played by Tom Blyth. Blyth is a relatively new actor but an amazing choice to display the confusing and harsh character of Snow. It’s hard not to find his character attractive, even though his decisions are far from moral. You often have to remind yourself while you are watching the movie that Snow is not a good person. 

The other main character is Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler. Lucy Gray is a central member of District 12 who gets chosen to play in the games. She is part of a traveling band known as the Covey, and after the war, they were displaced, with Lucy Gray ending up in District 12.

Zegler was casted perfectly alongside Blyth, and her singing abilities translate into the musical characteristics of Lucy Gray. During the film’s promotional run, Zegler faced controversy due to her declarations following the SAG-AFTRA strike. Nevertheless, her stellar performance in this movie has managed to overshadow any previous concerns, solidifying her place in the Hunger Games universe.

As mentioned, the film takes place around the 10th Hunger Games. The film has a 1950s look and feel but maintains eccentric aspects of Panem with unnatural outfits and makeup. There is also a sense of ruin throughout the Capitol due to the destruction caused by the conflict.

Snow is a student at an academy in the Capitol, and his professor has decided that in this Hunger Games, they will be mentors with the reapers. Snow is paired with none other than Lucy Gray, and through tribulations, revenge, jealousy, Snow once again ends up on top. Throughout the original series, it is often wondered why Snow acts the way he does. In this movie, that question is answered. 

As fans eagerly dive into this prequel, they find themselves once again drawn in by the brutal world crafted by Suzanne Collins, brought to life by Francis Lawrence and a cast led by Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler. “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” stands as a testament to the enduring allure of a franchise that continues to captivate audiences worldwide.

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