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The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief • February 23, 2024
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‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ tastefully continues legacy of iconic Hunger Games trilogy

Lucy+Gray+Baird+%28Rachel+Zegler%29+stares+up+at+the+arena+in+The+Ballad+of+Songbirds+and+Snakes.+The+film+is+playing+in+theaters+everywhere+now.
Photo credit: Lionsgate
Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) stares up at the arena in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” The film is playing in theaters everywhere now.

Many might remember the iconic book and movie series that shaped many of their childhoods: The “Hunger Games,” which took the world by storm in 2012 when Francis Lawrence directed a three-film franchise that would become one of the most iconic dystopian series of all time.
On November 17, 2023, Lawrence continued this legacy through his new movie “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” which follows the villain origin story of the iconic Hunger Games character Coriolanus Snow through the dystopian world of Panem.
The movie transports audience members 64 years before the first Hunger Games movie as a young impoverished Coriolanus Snow becomes a mentor for Lucy Gray Baird in the 10th Hunger Games. As the storyline progresses, the audience sees a transformation from a seemingly empathic teenager into a cold-hearted dictator.
Tom Blyth, who plays Coriolanus Snow, does an incredible job creating a likable antagonist that the audience finds themselves rooting for throughout the film even though the outcome is obvious. The empathetic character fighting for Lucy Gray Baird in the beginning of the movie gives way to a heartless killer in the final scenes.
The complexity of the character’s grief to pure rage at times elevates the film, allowing the audience to see inside the mind of such an infamous character from the original series.
Rachel Zegler excels in her role as Lucy Gray Baird, towing the line between a naive girl and a cunning, vociferous woman. The on-screen chemistry between Blyth and Zegler is undeniable, and something that could not be fake as the film depicts their quasi-romance in a truly haunting way.
Of course, this movie was not just amazing because of the stellar acting, but also the new twists along the way.
The audience has seen the reaping countless times in the original trilogy, but never from the perspective of the wealthy citizens of the Capitol. Watching it through the perspective of a mentor rather than the tributes creates an entirely new lens through which the audience can view the story.
However, with almost every book to movie adaptation, the plot feels to be lacking in some places and dragging in others. While the movie spans well over 2 hours and 30 minutes, the later half of the movie, or the third act of the book, felt rushed, leaving the audience wanting more and leaving in cringeworthy songs by Baird that take up minutes of the storyline.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” adds another level to the cinematic masterpiece that is the “Hunger Games” universe and is a must-watch this winter.

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About the Contributor
Josie Morrow, Views/Entertainment Section Editor
Josie Morrow (she/her) is a senior at Hayes. It is her second year on staff. She is involved in the Ohio Youth and Government Program as the 2024 Media Editor-in-Chief and she co-founded the Hayes Period Project. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spoiling her cat, listening to Taylor Swift, and drinking coffee.
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