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The Student News Site of Victor Senior High School

The Victor Voice

The Student News Site of Victor Senior High School

The Victor Voice

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Thrilling Prequel

Capitol students waiting for THG to start Via IMDb

The Hunger Games franchise has a new installment, a prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Set 64 years prior to the original films it shows a post-war Panem.

 Director Francis Lawrence returns for work on his fourth film in the series, with a whole new cast and plot. 

One of the most awaited films this year for dystopian fans, it showcases a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), aka President Snow, when he is 18. As a privileged Capitol citizen, he becomes a mentor to the resilient Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a District 12 tribute in the 10th annual Hunger Games.

 For anyone who isn’t already a fan, The Hunger Games is a tournament that selects 24 people, called tributes, from each of the 12 districts of Panem to (un)willingly fight to the death for Capitol entertainment. In the film, Coriolanus Snow says that he once thought the games were to punish the districts but instead it is to remind everyone who they really are.

In contrast to the original films, the arena in the beginning of Songbirds, as compared to the advanced one Katniss Everdeen enters, is broken down and abandoned looking with nowhere to hide, and the drones to send supplies don’t work. This lack of technological sophistication makes the games more brutal and leaves the tributes to be almost animalistic, fighting for their lives. 

 The run time is just short of 2 hours & 40 minutes and with an audience score of 89. It has soared above expectations, generating $200 million globally at the box office in the opening weekend, making it the second movie in 2023 to cross the $100 million mark for Lionsgate (Deadline). 

Although audiences love it, some critics (it has scored a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes) have criticized it for its long run time, insufficient character development, and the feeling of being left with nothing new. 

The film brings a familiar world back to life and uses its time wisely to show character changes and how Coriolanus becomes the evil superpower he is today.

Coriolanus Snow outfit stills via Pinterest

Coriolanus is arguably the most complex character in the series, with his struggle between his hunger for power and moral compass, while trying to navigate feelings for someone who goes against everything he is, Lucy Gray. 

His most popular outfits have the classic yet sophisticated look like his father. His reaping day attire features a striped shirt, black vest, and red rose. His mentor look consisted of an all red blazer, skirt, and pants, with a light blue shirt. The theme of red in his closet gives recognition to the classically styled power president he will become, as seen at the end of the movie with an all red outfit and coat. 

Costume designer Trish Summerville brings the old Panem to life with a more toned down, less gaudy Capitol style inspired by the 1940-50s era. The wardrobes are more neutral and classic, like Lucky Flickerman’s broadcasting suits and Grandma’ams’ old style dresses. Other outfits feature the brighter side of Panem, with bright colors from Tigris’s shiny pink suit and Doctor Gaul’s purple paisley gown, both dresses expressing the creative side of these two characters.

Lucy Gray, Tigris, Gaul stills via Pinterest

The most well-known outfit from the movie is Lucy Gray’s rainbow reaping dress that was her mothers, which she wears throughout most of the film as it is the same clothes she wore the day of the reaping. Without proper uniforms for the characters, the dress had to withstand climbing, scrapes, and dancing, meaning Summerville created many versions. The dress showcases her fiery spirit with red, orange, and red tulle, in a nod to the Catching Fire movie, with highlights to her musical side. Known as a songbird, Rachel Zegler preforms multiple songs acapella to showcase Lucy Gray’s musical talent within the covey.  

With the budget being $100 million, we see beautiful architecture from cities throughout Germany and Poland, including Berlin, Wroclaw, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Leipzig, as well as South Poland. The film uses both real and digitally created historical monuments to create this feeling of post-war life to capture the correct timeline of events in our own history. Lawrence confirms that 99% of the sets were real, but they did build the Snow apartment and zoo (CNT).

Alongside the well-known cast like Viola Davis (The Woman King), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story), Hunter Schafer (Euphoria), and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), songwriter and actress Olivia Rodrigo (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) was called upon to create a song for the film.

Already eligible for an Oscar, the song foreshadows the ending of the film and highlights the theme that Lucy Gray will forever haunt Snow, with the lyrics “You see my face in every place but you can’t catch me now”. This prediction becomes true when Katniss Everdeen is the new face of the revolution. A big easter egg is when Katniss sings the song The Hanging Tree, originally created by Lucy Gray herself, and even though she may have been forgotten, her legacy will always remain.

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About the Contributor
Taylor DeRoller
Taylor DeRoller, Senior Staff Writer
Taylor DeRoller is a junior at Victor High School. She is a second year journalist and writes about movies/shows, music, and concerts. Her favorite movies are Avatar 1 & 2, and Spiderman: No Way Home. She is a member of Wellness Club, Yearbook, Connection Crew, and was in International Club.

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