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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ hits the theaters

‘The Hunger Games’ movie franchise adds another to the screens
Fair+use+from+Lionsgate
Fair use from Lionsgate

The fourth book and the prequel to the “Hunger Games” trilogy has just been adapted into a film. With the release on Nov. 17, many have flooded theaters to see the book come to life. 

The movie follows a younger President Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as an academy student and mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games. His tribute, Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) a singer from District 12, is set to fight to the death in the arena. The audience follows their complicated relationship, full of trials, tribulations and a bit of romance. We also get insight into Snow and Panem’s past, and how it came to be during Katniss’ time 64 years later. 

As someone who has read and watched the entire series up until this point, to say I was thrilled for this release would be an understatement. I loved, author of the series, Suzanne Collins’ latest release with the book, and I was excited to see how they would adapt it to the screens. Zegler fit Lucy Gray perfectly, as her voice carried so much emotion and depth throughout the entire film. Blyth’s performance was outstanding, as he made a hated and villainized character loved by audiences. He was able to display Snow’s inner monologue that we get written in the book through his facial expressions in the movie, which only added to my enjoyment.

The rest of the cast was perfectly fit, with the addition of handicapped actors as the actual handicapped tributes that had previously been cut out in the earlier movies. Viola Davis, who played Dr. Gaul, and Hunter Schafer, who acted as Tigris, also stood out immensely for their character displays. The storytelling, emotion and music were all on point.

The movie did cut out and rework some aspects of the book, but it wasn’t disappointing. I expected this going in, and the parts they did remove had no real significance to the overall story. Keeping everything would have made the already almost three hour long movie even longer. 

Another stellar aspect of the film was the soundtrack. Zegler performed every song live in the movie, which deserves high praise on her part. The songs themselves were beautifully written, connecting the prequel to the rest of the series with the origins of the songs “The Hanging Tree” and “Deep in the Meadow”. Olivia Rodrigo’s single, “Can’t Catch Me Now,” was yet another wonderfully written song for the film. The story itself was wonderful, but the tracks behind it are what really made the movie incredible.

My only critique is that the film felt rushed. The book had so much depth and history to tell, and the movie tried to achieve that level of detail in too short a time. I think the story could’ve benefitted from a two-part movie, as they did with “Mockingjay.” More of Snow’s backstory and ulterior motives could’ve been explained, and Lucy Gray’s story could have been shown to a greater extent than it was. I think the movie did well for its three hours, but splitting it into two would have been the better choice.

Overall, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” exceeded my expectations, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I would recommend seeing it to anyone who has long loved the series, or to someone as an introduction to “The Hunger Games” franchise. 

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”: ★★★★★

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About the Contributor
Rylie Unangst, Echo Staffer
Hey!!!! My name is Rylie and I am a senior this year. I am one of the captains of the girl's lacrosse team and I manage the football team. Outside of that, I really enjoy watching movies, eating sushi, and hanging out with friends! I’m really looking forward to this year!

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