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The Wrangler

Review of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

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Mylie Brown
Taylor Ditmar (11), and Casey Cho (11), and I excitedly awaiting the start of the film.

November 17th, 2023 – a day marked on my calendar for quite literally, years. As one of the biggest fans of the film series “The Hunger Games” any person could find, one could assume that my level of excitement and anticipation for the prequel “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes” was through the roof… and it was. I have never felt myself hungering for a movie so much in all my life, which honestly brought me a sense of fear as I walked into the movie theater on opening night. What if the movie isn’t everything I have hoped it would be?

Luckily, that was not the case at all. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, starring Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler, was what I consider to be a cinematic masterpiece. It had a perfect sense of familiarity to the first four movies in the franchise while also bringing a new life to the familiar society of Panem.

(Minor spoilers ahead!)

To start, the acting performances were nothing short of impeccable. Tom Blyth added a wonderful sense of charm, yet unease to the future dictator, President Snow. Despite having known the ending of the film before watching, I found myself rooting for Coriolanus the entire movie; I was heartbroken as I began to watch his paranoia turn him into the seemingly heartless villain we have all come to know. Another performance that I simply cannot ignore was provided by the wonderful Rachel Zegler. Playing Lucy Gray Baird, Zegler perfectly brought Lucy’s musical genius to life. I was enchanted by her voice and felt goosebumps all over my body when she first sang on screen. Blyth and Zegler were not the only standout performances and the entire cast did an amazing job bringing the novel to life. As an audience member, I could not help but feel like I was experiencing the horrors of the games with the tributes and was extremely impressed.

 Additionally, I was overwhelmed by the incredible cinematography and beautiful shots this film provides. My absolute favorite scene was when Lucy Gray was first introduced and bowed down in front of District Twelve at the reaping (it reminded me of Katniss’s iconic bow from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”). My jaw was near the floor and I was so satisfied to see references to the original characters. 

The sad thing about prequels is that you likely already know how the film is going to end before you watch it (Star Wars for example; in “Revenge of The Sith” it’s likely that as a viewer, you already knew that Anakin was going to be seduced to the dark side and become Darth Vader). Although I definitely left the movie theater with mental wounds from some of the tragic deaths, I found myself content with the ending. The film provided exactly what it needed. We got: the history of the games and how they became such a spectacle, parallels to the original series, an explanation for why President Snow is so heartless, and much more. I was hoping to see a little more of Tigris’s character and her backstory, but cannot complain since it was a lengthy movie. 

I left the theater in total shock. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a movie I could watch a thousand times and never get old.

— Taylor Ditmar (11)

Taylor Ditmar (11) saw the movie with me and we experienced many emotions throughout the two hours and forty-six minutes. Let’s just say, there were lots of tears shed. Taylor said: “I left the theater in total shock. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a movie I could watch a thousand times and never get old.”

Overall, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was everything I wanted it to be, and it was worth the years of anticipation.

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About the Contributor
Mylie Brown
Mylie Brown, Photojournalist
Mylie Brown is a junior here at YLHS who is eager to begin her second year as a photojournalist for The Wrangler. She loves keeping herself involved as she is a part of many different activities on campus. Mylie is currently the Junior Class President, and her favorite subjects are English and History. In her free time, you can find her reading, spending time with her friends and family, or listening to music. She is so excited for her final two years at YLHS and hopes to make this the most memorable year yet!

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    Tatum StewardDec 14, 2023 at 8:01 AM

    I love this article! I love the Hunger Games so it is so refreshing to hear such positive things about this franchise.

    Reply