The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – Rhythm of Heart and Snow: An Origin Tale

Franchises are very common in the world of film.  From Star Wars to Harry Potter, franchises push forward a nebulous kind of escape that touches generations of fans.  Within each unfolding chapter, there is a hope for something interesting, even if we have insight into the outcome.  In this review, I look at a prequel chapter to a popular IP.  Returning to Panem, we get to see a meshing of world-building within a character tale.  Even with obvious tropes, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is an interesting tale of how one boy became … a ruthless leader.

This is a story about young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), and how his heart was forever changed by the 10th annual Hunger Games.  When it comes to franchises, there is always this ‘urge’ to build out the unknown, even if there isn’t a need.  Whatever the reason, there will be certain explanations levied by the audience (fans or not), especially if it’s a prequel.  In the beginning, the audience is introduced to Snow and how his worldviews were influenced by the early days of Panem.  We then flash forward to the present, furthering the backstory of Snow, his family, and their struggles to adapt to this dystopian society.  Through a series of conversational moments, you learn that enthusiasm has waned for the games, and Snow (and other students) have been designated as mentors to the upcoming participants.  After a series of somber dialogues and world-building, we are introduced to Snow’s participant, Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler) from District 12.  From this point, the story slowly builds the world through the characters, putting the horrors of the games within a quandary of purpose vs. intent.  With new ideas presented, you get a narrative that pushes the infancy of this world through the eyes of Snow and Gray.  With continued conversations between the two, you get a sense of fragility (about what they are tasked to do) through the volatile aspect of personal growth.  The two provide the heart and conflict of the larger world, moving through characterization against the backdrop of predictability.  For all that is known (from the original films), there is a delicate sense of wonder and belonging that builds up against the complexity of power, control, and prejudice.  The moments are raw, pushing forward an important throughline for Snow: what is the purpose of the Hunger Games?

As the journey continues, the filmmakers push further into the complexities of Snow.  Through the games (and its outcome), it becomes a deepen layer of the character within the fragility of human value.  For all his dire conviction about the capital and his family, these ideals put him at a crossroads for fondness for Lucy Gray.  This leads to a shift in building out an ominous outcome to the predictable ‘fall from grace’ mantra.  When certain outcomes lead to dire results, we head into a third act of character growth within a moral dilemma.  With Snow standing before tough choices, we head into that obvious climax but full circle epilogue.  The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a prequel that creates a strong character tale within its obvious outcome.  If you are a fan of the franchise, character tales or dystopian settings, this is for you.  Either way, you can still have fun at the theaters with this prequel. 

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *