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“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” – A Joint Review

Jingle Bells,

Quarter Quells, 

Happy Hunger Games!

Well, maybe not “Jingle Bells” but the Hunger Games are back today, Friday, November 17.  Suzanne Collins’ latest movie adaptation, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” gives us a glimpse into the world of Panem before Katniss’ time.  Fortunately for us, we got to see it the day before.

Suzanne Collins gave us three books: “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire,” and “Mockingjay.”  These movies were later produced into four films: “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire,” “Mockingjay: Part One” and “Mockingjay: Part Two.”  Shannon thinks that this is one of the few movie adaptations that mimics its books.  Lily doesn’t have an opinion on this because she’s never read them.  For shame.  

If you’re going to see the newest adaptation from Collins’ latest books, then skip ahead to our review.  If you don’t know what “The Hunger Games” is about, we are about to tell you now.  The first book and movie take readers and viewers alike through Katniss Everdeen’s life, where her world is turned upside down when volunteering for her sister at the reaping; the ceremony that decides who will participate in the 74th Hunger Games. She goes through a journey of triumph, love, and loss.

“Catching Fire” picks up when Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games, but their victory is short-lived.  It is the Quarter Quell, a Hunger Games like no other; happening every 25 years, a reaping occurs for only the surviving victors of each district.  The victor of the Quarter Quell is the best of the best.  As Katniss and Peeta face off against twenty-two other tributes in the new arena, they gain new allies. Katniss ends the games abruptly, jeopardizing the Capitol in the process. 

“Mockingjay” closes out the series.  Finally, the last book (the last two movies – the book was split into two parts) involves the revolt of District 13 rising again after being abolished in the war.  After Katniss ends the Quarter Quell, she is taken to District 13 because her home of 12 has been left to ashes.  Katniss has been chosen to be the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion for District 13 against President Snow and the Capitol.  While being the Mockingjay, Katniss must rescue Peeta who had been brainwashed by Snow.  Throughout Katniss’ leadership, she experiences love and loss like never before, and the fate of Panem now lies in her hands.  She must make the right decision to serve right from wrong.

Courtesy of: Amazon

We got to see “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” a day before its official release.  The cast included Rachel Zelger as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow.  Appearances were made by Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage, who played very crucial characters.  The physical event of the Hunger Games was overshadowed by Snow’s own Hunger Games; hunger for his place in the Capitol and for Lucy Gray, Snow’s first love. But don’t mistake this as a romance movie, it was full of betrayal, terror, and music. We were shocked to find out that there was so much music involved throughout the whole thing.  As heard in the trailer, they brought back Katniss’ iconic song, “The Hanging Tree,” which she sang during the rebellion for District 13.  In the case of this movie, we learn about the song’s history.

Shannon was happy with the movie overall, though, the production team left out some crucial parts that were in the book.  As for the acting, Tom Blyth portrayed the future president of Panem with excellence, making us upset when the bad character we had known from its preceding movies, turned out to actually be diabolical.  Viola Davis’ villainous character was nothing short of spectacular. She did more than put on a costume, Davis embodied the mad Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the head game master of the Hunger Games.  Of course, we can’t talk about this movie without the performance of Rachel Zelger as Lucy Gray Baird.  Her singing voice wowed the audience as she sang all of the songs live, on-set.  She fell seamlessly into the role of Lucy Gray, feeling very natural to the character. She played a pivotal role in the making of this movie.

The ending of the movie is ambiguous.  To prevent spoilers, we will leave this next part vague.  We know how Snow’s life plays out; as for others, their lives are still a mystery.  Lucy Gray’s songs leave openings for the audience’s imagination in the lives of the other characters, if you listen closely.  The songs play a significant role throughout the newest adaptation.  By the end of the movie, we find out who the real songbirds and snakes are.


“It’s the things we love most that destroy us.”

                                                                            –  President Coriolanus Snow: Mockingjay – Part 1

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