The Big Picture
- The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel that explores the rise of Coriolanus Snow and his journey from good to evil.
- Critics and fans have praised the performances in the film, particularly Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler.
- While some have commented on minor changes from the book, overall, the film is seen as a strong addition to the Hunger Games franchise with high stakes and solid action.
After a wait of eight years, we return to Panem in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which sees the rise of Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), the vindictive president of the post-apocalyptic America when we first met him with Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen. But is the film, which brings back franchise mainstay Francis Lawrence as director, a worthy addition to the series or is this something that should have been left alone after the financial and critical success that followed the original series based on the dystopian novels by Suzanne Collins?
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is set post-war, around a decade after the first Hunger Games, when the once-mighty Snow family has lost its stature. With his livelihood and reputation at stake, Coriolanus is tasked to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a “tribute” from the impoverished District 12 — the same District that Katniss represented. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will show the sacrifices, both emotional and moral, that Coriolanus made to survive in an unforgiving world where even the best people can go too far in trying to be virtuous.
As someone already on the cusp of good and evil, Snow must decide what side he wants to stand with if he wants to retain his internal morality and ensure his compass stays true. But is it a story worth telling?
What Are Critics and Fans Saying About ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’?
Collider’s own Perri Nemiroff “LOVED” The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes book and reports that the majority of the movie is excellent, though the final third felt “rushed,” ultimately calling it a “rock solid new addition to the film franchise.”
Others who’ve read the book also commented on changes that may affect the viewing experience, while also sharing high praise for the cast.
The Hollywood Handle praised the film saying that it “enriches the original franchise.” While also lifting up the performances of Zegler and Blyth, along with Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis. Meanwhile, Tessa Smith of Mama’s Geeky says “Tom Blyth gives the performance of a lifetime” and Next Best Picture’s Daniel Howat calls out “killer performances.”
Given that The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a prequel, for some audiences, this is their first foray into the Hunger Games universe. BroBible’s Eric Italiano said the film was “too long” but praised its pacing along with Zegler’s performance. Meanwhile, some longtime fans have called it “more gripping than the original.”
The movie also stars Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, and Jason Schwartzman, and hits theaters on November 17. You can grab your IMAX tickets here. Stay tuned at Collider for further updates.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
- Release Date
- November 17, 2023
- Francis Lawrence
- Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Burn Gorman, Fionnula Flanagan
- 165 minutes
- Main Genre