I will admit that I am a casual fan of The Hunger Games, I have seen all of the movies and I enjoyed them, but I have never read any of the books. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a prequel that is directed by Francis Lawrence who directed three of the other Hunger Games movies. The trailer looked cool and I liked the idea of seeing how President Snow became the evil dictator that we know him as.
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The Movie Review
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a real mixed bag of a movie. It clocks in at over two and a half hours, but it still felt rushed. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I think this could have been stretched out to two movies. Granted, I have not read the book this is based on, but it felt like some elements were glossed over and the ending just came out of nowhere.
A Prequel’s Time and Setting
The movie takes place over 60 years before the events of the first Hunger Games movie. The family Snow has fallen on hard times, but 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow vows to make things right.
Complex Character Portrayals
I have to be honest, Tom Blyth is great as Coriolanus, but I had a hard time warming to him as I hated him so much in The Hunger Games movies. Even when he was trying to be a hero or nice, I never bought it.
The Setting and Key Characters
The setting for the movie revolves around the tenth installment of The Hunger Games. Casca Highbottom is the Dean of the Academy and he is played by Peter Dinklage who is awesome as always and a real piece of work. Dr. Volumnia Gaul is played by Viola Davis and she is the game maker and the one pulling the strings.
You can tell that she was having a great time with this movie and I thought that she lit up the screen whenever she was on it.
Lucy Gray and the Tributes
I liked seeing more of the Capital and the start of what The Hunger Games would become by the time we got to the first movie. You see, they have the idea to make The Hunger Games more of a spectacle with them making the Tributes more entertaining. Coriolanus is tasked with being the mentor for the District 12 Tribute, Lucy Gray who is played by Rachel Zegler.
Lucy Gray – A Different Heroine
I have not read the books, but for me, Lucy Gray feels like she is supposed to be this movie’s version of Katniss. Let me tell you, Lucy Gray is no Katniss! I liked Lucy Gray, but her being a singer was overplayed to the max and just felt weird. The first time she did it and won over people, it was great, but it became a real distraction for me. Again, I have not read the books so this could be very accurate, but it was overdone for me.
The relationship between Coriolanus and Lucy was ok, I feel like they were trying to make us think that if they had stayed together, he may not have fully gone over to the dark side.
The Brutal Hunger Games
The actual Hunger Games here are brutal and my favorite part of the movie, they are not the big fancy showcase they are in the other movies. They are more violent and gritty here and it was very thrilling and exciting.
A Rushed Ending
While The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a pretty long movie, it never really dragged, only the singing stuff dragged for me! Yet, when the end came, I felt like it was rushed and that there was more to be told here. We know that Snow becomes bad, but it just zooms to this at the end and I think it could have been a bit of a slower turn and it would have been more effective.
I can see why some people would love The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. My sister is a huge fan of the books and she said this was fantastic and her movie of the year! For me, it was just ok, it was not bad, but it was not great either. I may give this another try when it comes out on 4K as it might be the kind of movie that is better the second time around in the comfort of my own home.
- The actual brutality of The Hunger Games was awesome
- I liked how much we saw of The Capital
- From what I have heard from big fans, it is close to the book
- Viola Davis is a lot of fun, she is like a mad scientist!
- Some of the CGI is very ropey here
- I just did not find myself caring a great deal about most of the characters or the actual story