The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the prequel to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy. It follows the early life of the main antagonist of the Hunger Games series, President Coriolanus Snow, 65 years before Katniss and Peeta’s games.
The movie is divided into three parts, The Mentor, The Prize, and The Peacekeeper, just like the books, and the similarities to the books is an issue that a lot of viewers had with the movie. The final segment of the movie is just like the book, drawn out and with little development or action.
Another problem with the story is some of the actions taken by young Coriolanus Snow which seemingly happen for no reason. He acts selflessly towards Lucy Gray during the Games, as he has little personal incentive to help her win, and sacrifices his future for her safety. In my opinion, this contradicts with Snow’s transition from neutral/good at the beginning to evil at the end of the movie, he seems to become selfish and evil suddenly and without good reason.
On the positive side, I really enjoyed the character of Lucy Gray Baird. I thought it was refreshing to see a Hunger Games tribute that wasn’t particularly strong or good at hunting people down. Lucy Gray’s approach to the Games was very realistic in my opinion, and her charming and performative personality is a welcome contrast from a lot of Mary-Sue female protagonists in Dystopian fiction.
Initially leaving the film, I felt there were things that the movie could have done a lot better, but the film fit right in with the rest of the films in the series. Like many fans, I was ecstatic to see the backstory behind the hanging tree song and Snow’s villain origin story. Despite some errors, the story is great, and it is an excellent prequel to the Hunger Games, giving necessary context to one of the most evil villains in YA fiction. I would rate the movie a 8.8/10.
The poster for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes [Image Credit: IMDb]