The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023)


The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Storyline

During the First Rebellion with the Districts, the patriarch of the noble Snow family, General Crassus Snow, is killed in action. Ten years later, Crassus’ eighteen-year-old son and heir, Coriolanus, is determined to restore the family’s prosperity. As the tenth annual Hunger Games approaches, he is one of 24 mentors, each assigned an individual tribute. Due to low viewership, Games author Casca Highbottom advises the mentors to ensure they focus on their tribute entertaining the viewers rather than winning the Games.Coriolanus is assigned the District 12 female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray sparks the attention of the Capitol after singing during the reaping, as well as slipping a snake into the clothing of the mayor’s daughter Mayfair. Coriolanus is determined to ensure Lucy Gray wins over the hearts of the viewers, as the mentor of the best performing tribute will be promised fortune. Coriolanus attempts to befriend Lucy Gray to earn her trust, riding in the same car as the tributes, where he is accidentally dumped into the Capitol Zoo with the tributes, and humanizing her for the cameras, winning the sympathy of the Capitol citizens.Coriolanus presents a proposal to Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul involving a sponsorship scheme, allowing Capitol viewers to donate to tribute’s mentors, who can send out supplies during the Games. Coriolanus bonds with Lucy Gray, while another mentor, Arachne, is killed by her tribute after she taunts her. During a tour of the arena with others, a rebel bomb explodes, killing several mentors and tributes. Lucy Gray saves Coriolanus from collapsing debris, changing his perception of her; he gifts her some rat poison hidden in his mother’s compact to make use of during the Games.During the Games, many tributes quickly die in the initial chaos. Gaul implements Coriolanus’ suggestions to the games and Capitol viewership increases. Lucy Gray survives the initial onslaught by escaping through a hole torn from the rebel explosion, hiding in a service tunnel with District 12’s male tribute Jessup. Coriolanus’ friend Sejanus Plinth, resentful of the cruelty of the Games, sneaks into the arena and mourns alongside his fallen tribute, who was his former classmate in District Two. Coriolanus enters the arena to extract Sejanus, but they are attacked by tributes; Coriolanus is forced to kill one. The footage of the Games is altered to hide their presence.Soon after, Coriolanus realizes Gaul is going to release a tank of genetically modified snakes into the arena to speed up the Games; the snakes do not attack those with scents they are familiar. Coriolanus secretly puts his father’s handkerchief that has Lucy Gray’s scent into the tank. When the snakes are released into the arena, they kill all remaining tributes except for Lucy Gray; Gaul initially refuses to declare her the victor, until persuaded to do so by Capitol viewers. After the celebration, Coriolanus is confronted by Highbottom, who shows him the handkerchief and poison. As punishment for cheating, Coriolanus is forced to join the Peacekeepers on a twenty year sentence, and insists on transferring to District 12, though unaware of Lucy Gray’s fate.In District 12, Coriolanus starts his Peacekeeper training. Sejanus is also forced to join for sneaking into the arena. After a man is hanged, inspiring Lucy Gray with ‘The Hanging Tree’ song, Coriolanus, Sejanus, and other Peacekeepers go out at night to the Hob in District 12. Coriolanus reunites with Lucy Gray after seeing her sing and they continue their relationship. Meanwhile, Coriolanus observes Sejanus talking with rebels and discovers his plan to help them escape to the north. Coriolanus uses a jabberjay to record Sejanus’ proposal, sending it back to Gaul. During another night at the Hob, Coriolanus follows Sejanus, who is talking with Billy Taupe and Spruce, and they get into an altercation resulting in Coriolanus shooting Mayfair and Spruce killing Billy Taupe. They rush to hide the murder weapons, with Coriolanus reassuring Lucy Gray. Sejanus is later hanged for treason along with the other rebels; Lucy Gray tells Coriolanus to join her and escape to the north.On the way north, Coriolanus finds the hidden weapons stashed by Spruce in the cabin by the lake. When she vanishes, Coriolanus realizes Lucy Gray knows about his tip to Gaul about Sejanus, and pursues her with the rifle. He is bitten by a snake set as a trap and becomes disillusioned. Coriolanus returns to the Capitol and is offered a spot at the University courtesy of Sejanus’ parents, who are unaware of his role in their son’s death. Coriolanus visits Highbottom, who confesses the Games were never intended to be a reality, and were merely a drunken idea that Crassus, who was his classmate and best friend in university, stole the idea from him and made it into reality. Highbottom never forgave Crassus for this, and sees his deceitful nature in Coriolanus. Coriolanus slips rat poison into Highbottom’s drug stash. Gaul trains Coriolanus to be a future Gamemaker.

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Movie Reviews

Incredibly faithful to the book

Funny people in the comments not expecting songs from a movie that starts with the name THE BALLAD OF.

The whole point of the movie was to show how Snow starting rising to power and also how the Capitol started being manipulated into start liking and watching the games.

It was a great adaptation, the most faithful one since Catching Fire. Rachel Zegler is a great singer and a great actress. The songs are very important to the story, every song contains an important part of the movie ESPECIALLY the one she sings laying down by the lake.

People need to actually pay attention to what they’re watching.

Long, Boring and not needed.

No matter how faithful a movie is to the book, it can’t save itself from the fact that it’s unneeded. Backstory to snow is fine if it adds something new to the universe, however nothing new is added here, we get taught everything we knew about the world and get tiny little snips of backstory of the origins of the Hunger Games. For the movies insane long run time, the final act of this film seems like a race to get to the end of the story. The slow paced world building it creates in the first two acts is immediately thrown out for the purpose of reaching that finish line. Unlike the last Hunger Games movies being split into two, this is the Hunger Games movie that should have been split into two. We don’t get to the motivations and reasonings behind characters other than a line or two then we arrive at them. Another hour and a half of story telling could have fleshed these characters out and made the ending more meaningful. However we’re left with a film that doesn’t seem to ever end, masked with good acting, set design and great cinematography. But a film that is messy, long and drawn out only to be shot into a moc 10 speed at the end. Leaving this movie feel completely unnecessary.

Pleasantly Surprised

I will start by saying I don’t think it’s an 8, maybe a 7.5-7.7 so I rounded up.

However, I went in with low expectations, expecting a big budget movie with a poor storyline but otherwise reasonably watchable. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself hooked! And I daresay it was one of the better Hunger Games movies.

The bad reviews I’ve read seem to miss the point. This is not a story about the origin of the games, it is not a story about ‘Lucy Gray” (even though her name is said about 1000 times)… It is a story about Snow and why he became the psychopath we know from the original stories. I found the not-so-happy ending refreshing and if you enjoy and understand social economic/philosophical dilemmas in terms of human psychology then it adds a notch of appreciation.

Viola, Tom and Peter were excellent in their portrayals. Zegler was fine, a little theatrical but given her background I suppose understandable.

I don’t understand the hate. Especially the 1-3* reviews. Like, what were you watching!?