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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Review

No spoilers ahead

“The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”, released on November 17th, 2023, was highly anticipated after the release of the last Hunger Games movie about eight years ago. With the older books and movies being so widely loved, there were high expectations for this movie to be just as good. Many people flocked to the theaters to see this new movie, hoping for an exciting prequel to the other movies. This movie follows one of the tributes to the 10th Hunger Games, Lucy Gray Baird, and her journey with capitol-citizen, Coriolanus Snow. As the Game-makers in the capital struggle to keep viewership of the Games up, new additions to the Games are created and the evolution of the Games is clearly shown. 

This movie explores some of the ideas and themes shown in the earlier movies but also shares some of the early Panem traditions when it comes to the Games. This interesting combination of new and old information regarding the Hunger Games universe creates an exciting and captivating movie. All 158 minutes of the movie are well-spent creating dynamic characters and interesting relationships. The story is coherent and leaves the viewer wanting more. It also includes a lot of details that explain why the Games were the way they were in the original movies, which is exciting for true Hunger Games fans. 

The movie also includes a musical aspect, similar to the original movies, but more relevant to this plot. The main character, Lucy Gray, is a singer and performer. She can be seen sharing characteristics with the iconic Hunger Games character Katniss Everdeen. The softness of the music juxtaposes the tone of the movie and brings forth an interesting relationship between violence and musical sounds. This new female lead is inspiring and likable, making the entire movie emotional and important to viewers. The other main character, Coriolanus Snow, who is the younger version of President Snow from the older Hunger Games movies, keeps the audience on their toes while he struggles with his place in the capital and his relationship with the people in the districts. 

I did not find myself bored throughout the movie, despite its long runtime, and actually wanted to watch more of these characters and their stories when it was done. I think the movie was very well done with details about the society as a whole, the Games, and a little romance being equally interesting and developed. 

If you have not yet seen this movie, I highly recommend it, especially if you have read or watched any of the other Hunger Games pieces before it. If you haven’t, this movie would still be entertaining and has enough backstory to help you understand it. I will definitely be watching it again once it is released for me to watch at home for free!