Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes revives Hunger Games craze

The world has entered its Hunger Games phase again. With the release of the movie “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” my social media has been flooded with edits of Josh Hutcherson, the actor who played Peeta Mellark in the original series, and Tom Blythe, the actor who played Coriolanus Snow in the new movie.

The movie, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of young President Coriolanus Snow during the 10th Hunger Games, 64 years before Katniss’ story begins in the first Hunger Games book. The story takes place in a dystopian North America. Coriolanus is a poor Capitol student, desperate to prove himself as mentor for the tenth Hunger Games. His tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, is a performer from District 12 and the two connect throughout the Game. The conflict between Coriolanus’ desire for power wars with his budding love for Lucy Gray throughout.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie came out on November 17. On its opening weekend it was the #1 movie in the world, grossing $44 million. With all eyes on the movie’s release, some light has also started to shine on the Hunger Games’ prequel book released three years ago on May 19, 2020. I absolutely loved both the movie and the book and would recommend the prequel to any Hunger Games fan.

The movie was a fairly faithful adaptation of the book; like most of the Hunger Games series, the movies’ themes and characters held true to the books. However, as the longest Hunger Games book the movie had to make many necessary cuts for time.

Additionally, the movie lacked a clear viewpoint into Coriolanus’ head. The book is told from his POV so his thoughts constantly remind the reader that, even when he charms the people around him, he is still constantly manipulating his way to the top. A few friends of mine who watched the movie thought it was shocking to see Coriolanus become more like the evil President Snow we are familiar with from the original series, believing his seemingly kind actions did not line up with this characterization. The movie left plenty of clues about Coriolanus’ mindset but having read the book it was clearer exactly what he was thinking.

Rachel Zegler, who played Snow’s tribute and love interest, Lucy Gray Baird, brought her musical talents to bring a stunning portrayal of the charismatic Lucy Gray. Her songs, first penned by Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games series, and performed by Zegler brought me goosebumps every time.

The book is split into three parts, a format that the movie followed. Even with the cuts made, the film still seemed to drag at times. With a run time of 2 hours and 38 minutes it is a commitment to watch the movie. Especially in the final part where a different storyline makes an appearance after an ending point seems to have been reached. The film might have had better pacing if it had instead been made into two movies.

Despite the length, the story was interesting, offering an unexpected viewpoint into the life of President Snow. I found the book to have the most disturbing scenes of any Hunger Games book. The movie toned down the violence a bit but it was still chilling to watch, as any Hunger Games movie should be.

I enjoyed both the movie and book and thought they were excellent additions to the Hunger Games universe. Hunger Games fans should not miss this stunning prequel. I would rate the movie four out of five stars, the acting and cinematography were amazing but the pacing did the film no favors. Though the movie was a good adaptation, there is just nothing like the book for providing in-depth characterization and greater emphasis on the disturbing cultural comparisons between Panem and the United States. For its excellent story, interesting conflict, and valuable addition to the Hunger Games series, I would rate the book five out of five stars.

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About the Contributor
Emma Harper, Magazine Editor-in-Chief
For her third and final year on the Bear Facts staff, Emma will be serving as Magazine Editor-in-Chief for the first time. After high school, Emma hopes to major in journalism and pursue a career in the field. When she’s not frantically writing or editing articles, Emma enjoys singing in her two choirs, participating in drama club, and volunteering with NHS and Tri-M. Outside of school, she loves reading fantasy novels and sewing.   

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