by ECI Released : 2023-11-17
The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes is a prequel to the original Hunger Games films and is directed by Francis Lawrence who directed films 2-4 in the original series. The film stars Tom Blythe as a young Coriolanus Snow and Rachel Zegler as Lucy Grey Baird. 18 year old Coriolanus Snow is a far cry from the despicable President Snow seen in the original series who had no qualms killing innocent women and children.
Grey is a fiery tribute from district 12 for the 10th hunger games who Snow must mentor. Young Snow hopes to win the Plinth Prize in order to lift his once wealthy family out of the poverty that has plagued them since the end of the war. When the only path to doing this comes in the form of boosting the Hunger Games' dwindling ratings Snow is assigned the task of Lucy Grey’s mentor and a romance soon blossoms.
The film is divided into three arcs: the first is the leadup to the games, the second is the games, and the third follows the aftermath. For a nearly three hour film the third act and particularly the ending feels rushed. I believe the film would have been better served if more development was given to the other tributes and the film ended with part 2 allowing the third act to be expanded and better paced in a second film
Despite these pacing problems I’d still highly recommend the film with standout performances from Tom Blythe, Viola Davis, Jason and Peter Dinklage and the entire cast bringing their A game. The visuals are shotty at times but Panem looks great and the costumes do a good job at depicting what fashion may have been like during the earlier days of Panem. Overall the film is an entertaining watch despite a rushed ending and I enjoyed it more than the two previous installments (Mockingjay Part 1 and 2) in the franchise.