Review of 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'

hunger_games_ballad_of_songbirds.jpg A prequel to the “Hunger Game” films/books, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is set ten years after the first district rebellion focusing on the young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) of the noble Snow family. Coriolanus is one of 24 mentors and assigned a Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler) a tribute from District 12 who is to participate in the games. Lucy has attracted the Capitol's attention by singing during the reaping (and slipping a snake into the clothes of the mayor's daughter) so Coriolanus is determined to have Lucy win over the hearts of the viewers and win the games despite her kind nature. Coriolanus convinced the Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis) to allow viewers to donate to tribute's mentors during the games allowing them to send in supplies during the Games. When the Games commence, chaos ensues initially with no clear winner until Coriolanus covertly enters the arena to save his pacifist friend Sejanus Plinth (Josh Andrés Rivera)…

I have to admit I found Coriolanus to be quite likeable at the beginning, obviously taken by the innocence of Lucy Gray and seemingly sceptical of the games but wishing to make the best of it, but by the end if there were any compassionate feelings in him they are well and truly gone. I have to stress that you really do want to be familiar with the series before watching otherwise you will be quite lost. Fans of the series will enjoy this rather over-long exploration of the origins of Coriolanus and the Games themselves. The innocence of Lucy Gray is quickly erased as she becomes an embodiment of everything she previously despised…though she has a nice voice.

The often brutal action sequences are very well done and quite imaginative as young people often set about killing each other in unique and innovative ways but there is also a fair amount of intrigue and political machinations…often brutal as well. In short: A brutal film full of scheming characters that taint any innocence they come in contact with. “Fun”?

A long film focusing on the telling the early origins of the Hunger Games with copious amounts of brutality.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2024-05-12

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Studio: Color Force

Year: 2023

Length: 157 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Francis Lawrence: