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The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Review of the Hunger Games Prequel
Photo by Jacob Gabel
Sit back and enjoy some hot takes on your favorite films, books, music, concerts, and television series from our team at the Red & Black!

The Hunger Games is back, a decade after the last book came out, Suzanne Collins wrote another book which is the backstory for it all:  The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

The novel came out in 2020, but was severely undermarketed and was released in a very unstable time for sales. So, it did not reach the level of popularity the previous Hunger Games books had.  

Earlier this year the four Hunger Games movies were put onto Netflix for a month and that’s when the hype around the new book started. Everyone on Tik Tok was rewatching, breaking down the movies, and talking about the new book that not many people knew about.  

This was genius marketing because right around the time the movies were put onto Netflix, it was announced that the new movie would be coming out. 

Everyone was taken back to their middle school days of reading The Hunger Games series. No one could wait for this new movie and when it came out and we were not disappointed. 

This movie was phenomenal, as is the singing of Rachel Zegler who portrays Lucy Gray. She brings the songs from the pages alive and does an amazing job portraying Lucy Gray Baird.  

“I’ve read all four of the books and I was very happy with the new adaptation. I felt it was the perfect length and detailed enough to show the development of the characters and what led them to be antagonists or protagonists they are in the current trilogy” said long time Hunger Games fan Hannah Schlanger. 

The book was told from Snow’s perspective and was about his life before he was president. When first learning about this movie many fans including myself were worried that the movie wouldn’t properly portray Snow’s inner monologue like how it is in the books.  

“I do feel like the books were able to give more detail into the minds of the characters, which is always helpful in showing the readers or audience their character development and what prompts them to make the decisions they did. Overall, viewers were able to grasp the concept of this new story while enjoying what The Hunger Games had brought to the table years ago.” said Schlanger. 

It’s safe to say we were all mistaken, the acting of Tom Blyth was outstanding. Even at times when no words are said you can tell what the character is thinking to himself, this is especially evident in the ending. 

In the movie we follow a young Coriolanus Snow after the dark days of Panem, this movie is a prequel, so it takes place during the 10th Hunger Games when the games are still pretty new and not as precise and professional as we see in the 74th Hunger Games from the first movie.  

This is going to be the first hunger games with mentors, in the first film we learn that the mentors are the victors from that district. Since this was before the victors were treated like royalty with a victory tour and victor village, the mentors are the students at the academy that Snow goes to in the capital. The twenty-four brightest students will each be assigned a tribute. 

Snow is severely disliked by the dean of his school Casca Highbottom so Snow is assigned to the tribute with the worst odds, the female tribute from district 12, Lucy Gray Baird. We cut to district 12 and saw her getting reaped, in the earlier Hunger Games the Mayor of the district would pick the names of the tributes, it was much easier to rig the drawing.  

The mayor’s daughter Mayfair has a sinister smile on her face and says, “Sing your way out of this one Lucy Gray.” Showing us that they clearly have some history, and the mayor rigged the reaping so it would choose Lucy Gray. That’s when Lucy Gray puts a snake down Mayfair’s dress, once Lucy Gray gets up on the stage she is hit to the ground by the mayor.  

This is when we are introduced to the singing, the crowd starts singing a song and Lucy Gray sings along, she stands up powerfully and this gives Snow some hope, it shows how she’s stronger than everyone thought. 

Without giving too much away this movie does an amazing job showing Snows paranoia and descent into madness. 

I feel the ending was perfectly executed, while I do wish it gave some more of the aftermath of Snow’s actions, it still shows us what is to come in the future.  

During this movie it’s easy to feel some sympathy for Snow and even think he’s a good guy but the ending shows us his true intentions, we see the true President Snow. 





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About the Contributor
Damiano Scuteri
Damiano Scuteri, Staff Writer
Class of 2024. Loves movies, dogs, and music. Fears bugs and clowns. Wishes to pass AP Calculus.

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    Tyler GleasonDec 22, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    Awesome article!