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Wadsworth High School's Student Newspaper

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Opinion: “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” Premiers In Theaters

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” premiered on November 17, 2023, and has fans all around the world re-obsessing over the Hunger Games franchise. This movie is based on the book “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins and serves as the prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy that a lot of people know and love. The last movie of the Hunger Games franchise, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” came out over eight years ago so it was super exciting to get another movie.

The movie revolves around two characters, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who many know as the infamous President Snow, and 16-year-old Lucy Gray, a tribute from District 12. Snow, who is an orphan, resides in the Capitol but lives in poverty with his Grandma’am and cousin, Tigres. Snow worked hard his entire life leading up to his graduation to earn the Plinth Prize, a scholarship that would enable him to go to University and return his family to fortune. Snow and his classmates are each given a tribute from the 10th annual Hunger Games and whoever can make their tribute the most popular, wins the Plinth Prize.

Because this movie was already a book, the biggest question regarding the film was how they were going to cast the characters. Kyleigh Johnson, a senior at WHS, believes that the casting for this movie was phenomenal.

“I am happy that they cast Viola Davis as the game maker because she did a great job at portraying the villain in the movie that shaped Snow into who he becomes in the later movies,” Johnson said. 

Some other big names that fit perfectly into their parts were Tom Blyth, who played Coriolanus Snow, and Rachel Zegler who played Lucy Gray. Tom Blyth was able to portray Coriolanus Snow in a way that it was so easy to forgive him for all the evil things he did. Zegler was perfectly cast for Lucy Gray because her chemistry with Blyth was unmatched and brought the film to another level.

The promotional cover for “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” features all of the characters. This is the first movie of the series to come out in eight years. Photo courtesy of Fair Use.

This movie would rank 3rd in the franchise as it was better than the two Mockingjay movies but could not compete with the original Hunger Games and Hunger Games: Catching Fire. This ranking is very popular among a lot of fans and Johnson agrees that it is a top-tier movie of all time.

“My favorite parts of the film were the similarities between Lucy Gray and Katniss and all the parallels between the movies,” Johnson said. 

After seeing every franchise film, it was exciting to see how this film really intertwined with the others. Almost all of the Capitol figures involved in the original movies were descendants of Capitol children who were featured in the “Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”. Lucy Gray also picked Katniss, a plant, and she wrote the infamous “Hanging Tree” song that Katniss Everdeen sings during the rebellion.

Although the movie gained a lot of approval from fans, the lack of similarities between the novel and the movie was disappointing. This is very common with movie remakes because there is not enough time to fit in every detail. However, I thought the film would’ve been better off if it had been narrated by Criolanus Snow. The novel features so many inside thoughts of Snow that help to better understand why he does what he does. The film did not cover this part and the ending was more confusing than it should have been.

Bree Stoner, a senior at WHS, also disliked the horror aspect of the movie that came without warning.

“My least favorite parts of the movie were the gore and how violent it was,” said Stoner. “The jumpscares didn’t help either.”

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was definitely the most brutal movie of the franchise as it was super gorey and had much more unfiltered violence. These parts of the film made a lot of fans uneasy as there was little to no warning about how violent it was really going to get. 

At the end of the film, the audience gets to see how Coriolanus Snow ends up becoming the heartless dictator who is the antagonist in the first four novels. Still, they are left wondering what ever happened to Lucy Gray. This cliffhanger causes the film to be continued off-screen and onto countless social media platforms with people posting their thoughts as to what happened to Lucy Gray. This film definitely exceeded its expectations and is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys the Hunger Games franchise.

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About the Contributor
Brooke Baughman
Brooke Baughman, Opinion Editor
Brooke Baughman is a senior and has been on the Bruin staff for two years. She is the Opinion Editor and loves to write sports stories. She is the beat writer for the WHS volleyball, girls' soccer, and boys' basketball teams. Outside of Bruin, Brooke is a varsity basketball player and is involved in numerous clubs at WHS, including being a peer mentor for the freshman class and teaching 3rd graders about the dangerous effects of peer pressure through a group called HUDDLE. Brooke enjoys spending time with her three dogs, Charlie, Baker, and Dallas, and her grandparents. Brooke plans to attend college and major in a Pre-Physician Assistant program.
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