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A “Hunger Games” Comeback

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, released on November 17, 2023, is expected to make between $97-157 million in sales. Here’s what you need to know (spoiler free) before watching the film!
Courtesy of HDQwalls

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, written by Suzanne Collins, is the prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy, taking place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen famously volunteered as tribute for the 74th annual Hunger Games. The fourth book follows the origins of Hunger Games villain Coriolanus Snow and his journey to the corruption that later characterizes him as President. The book only spans a year of Snow’s life, starting as an eighteen year old worrying about his future after losing all of his family and wealth to a district’s failed rebellion. However, being born into the upper class of Panem and hiding his new destitution well, he is exempt from participating in the Games. Instead, as a student of the Capitol’s Academy, Snow is tasked with mentoring the reaped tributes, a new feature of the 10th Hunger Games. Snow is intrigued since a strong performance in the mentor program will likely result in a prize he can’t refuse: attending the Capitol’s University. He is disappointed when he is paired with 16 year old singer and performer Lucy Gray Baird from District 12 – the same district Katniss Everdeen is from. Through depending on one another for survival, Snow becomes fond of Lucy Gray’s charm, resourcefulness, and independence, now finding another reason to win the Games.

Going into the theater, being a Hunger Games fanatic who read all the original three books and went through a huge phase, I had very high expectations. These expectations were definitely met but not in the way that I thought they would be. In 2020, I had tried reading the fourth book but got bored with the beginning’s slow pace and never picked it back up again. That being said, I had no idea what the storyline was, and although I made my assumptions before I saw the movie, I was off in all aspects. I was mostly surprised at the events that slowly turned Snow’s morality and made him into the cold villain he’s known as. He had so much potential to be good, and I think the way his story unfolded was actually quite sad. I don’t want to say I felt bad for him considering his horrible actions, but I felt disappointment for him at how his own actions prevented him from following happiness and integrity. Overall, I think this movie did a fantastic job of telling a complex, layered story in a simple way, and tastefully portrayed the chemistry and relationship between Corionalus Snow and Lucy Gray, as well as the internal battle Snow must overcome in order to decide who he’s ultimately meant to be.

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