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The Seahawk's Eye

The Student News Site of Cape Coral High School

The Seahawk's Eye

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is beautiful

Image+courtesy+of+Lionsgate+Films.
Image courtesy of Lionsgate Films.

“You see that, boy. Snow is falling.”

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes  is perhaps the best Hunger Games movie since Catching Fire, with rates and box office sales breaking records and soaring to the number one film spot. It comes as no surprise to fans that the film is something both unique and familiar compared to the original trilogy. 

To call The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes anything short of the masterpiece that it is would be a disgrace. The casting, soundtrack, and execution of all of the concepts and perspectives captured in the book was perfect. Near never does a movie beautifully pay homage to the original work while still putting its own spin on it, but The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes did just that. 

Set 64 years before the first installment of The Hunger Games, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows Coriolanus Snow, who will go on to be the infamous ruler of Panem. In this film, Coriolanus’ journey as a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games and his role in making the Games what they are seen in the original trilogy is explored in depth. 

The casting was as good as the original trilogy. With Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow and Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, there were no better people for the job. Their chemistry together and on their own was immaculate, with Blyth’s perception of Coriolanus adding something new to his character compared to his original script created by Suzanne Collins in the novel. 

While he shares the same name as his literary counterpart, this movie adaptation of Coriolanus via Blyth isn’t entirely faithful to the man portrayed in the novel. From the very start of the novel, the reader knows that Coriolanus is an evil person. His internal monologue clearly defines his hate for district people and his view of them as sub-human. 

In the movie adaptation, however, Blyth depicts Coriolanus as a man of the people, working hard to support his impoverished family. He creates an appearance of wealth for himself at the academy, where Blyth’s depiction of Coriolanus shows his fall to evil, a complete contrast when compared with the source material.  There was no escalation to evil in the novel; from page one it is understood that Coriolanus Snow is an evil and terrible man. 

Lucy Gray Baird, however, is exactly how she was written to be. Spunky, carefree, and determined to survive, Zegler’s performance as Lucy Gray was perfect. With her Appalachian accent, Zegler captures the audience with her wit and charm, creating the perfect environment for her depiction of Lucy Gray to flourish. From her songs to her mannerisms, Lucy Gray was exemplary. 

 Speaking of the soundtrack, the film hit the spot. From “Pure as the Driven Snow” to “Nothing You Can Take From Me,” Zegler surpassed all expectations in her performance. Her voice was exactly what the film needed to perfectly convey Lucy Gray’s character, and that fact that all songs were recorded live just adds to the long list of impressive skills Zegler showcased in this film. 

Suzanne Collins delivered when it comes to her songwriting capabilities. Reading them in the novel was one thing, but to see the literal representation of her songs coming to life on screen was picture perfect. 

However, aspects of the original novel were lost in the film adaptation. The most glaringly obvious was the differences in Coriolanus’ character. Losing Coriolanus’ internal monologue was the biggest loss in cinematic history. Fans collectively understand that to paint Coriolanus as anything but a villain is a huge disservice to the Hunger Games universe. This was the biggest change between the novel and the film, and is the one obviously glaring critique. 

Coriolanus should have been presented as evil from the start. His relationship and control over Lucy Gray should not have been romanticized in the film. Most importantly, he should not have had a “fall to evil” arc not present in the book. 

Overall, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a beautiful film. The casting of main characters Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird was excellent, and each added a new perspective to the beloved characters (excluding Coriolanus, of course). If a competition of best book to movie adaptations was being held, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes would win hands down. For fans of the original trilogy, this film is a must see. 

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AJ Cudnik, Editor-in-Chief

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