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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Odds are in favor of ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ film adaptation

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Snow has easily become one of the best characters in the entire Hunger Games series. 

Notice I did not say he is a good person. Despite Lucy Gray’s song, he is not as “pure as the driven snow” by any means. Snow is manipulative, murderous and malicious. But even with all of these negative qualities at the forefront of his personality, his character was improved by it. ”The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” allows the audience a glimpse of the way Snow's character evolves, or rather, devolves into madness. 

When I first picked up the book years ago, I did not see how this prequel would be necessary to The Hunger Games saga. But after reading the book and watching the film, it is clear that it adds a lot to the series. 

That being said, I cannot promise that everyone will enjoy this film. It is better suited for people like me — people who have had Mockingjay pins hidden in their sock drawer since the fourth grade. Part of the film's genius is the parallels between this prequel and the original series, and if you're not already a fan, you miss out on it.

A film adaptation can never be better than the original book, but this film was able to draw in connections that are impossible to make while reading. While the book gave us insight into Snow's internal monologue of Snow, the film was clearly better at adding dimension to the important musical elements of the novel. The film used the same background music as the original trilogy, making it impossible not to gasp and cause a scene in the middle of a crowded movie theater. Those small details show the string that connects this story of the 10th Hunger Games to the one with Katniss Everdeen about 60 years later. 

There were also ties that stayed consistent between the books and the film. Whether it was the mention of a swamp potato Lucy Gray nicknamed “Katniss” or the return of ”The Hanging Tree” and other songs, there was a strong emphasis on District 12 identities. The audience watches Lucy Gray create the very songs that Katniss ends up singing in the rebellion. (Dear Snow, “you will never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.”) If you're like me, you may cringe at times when Lucy Gray would randomly burst into song as if the Hunger Games enters its musical era; however, it is undoubtedly necessary to the plot. It is haunting and beautiful to see how Snow’s career started and ended in this lowly district. He gained his respect by mentoring a charismatic girl from District 12, but he was taken down by one in the end. 

A large topic of discussion is also centered around the mirroring of characters between the prequel and the original series. Does Lucy Gray mirror Katniss or Peeta? Is Snow more like Peeta or Haymitch with his ability to manipulate an audience? Is Katniss mirroring Sejanus Plinth or Reaper? The truth is that they all represent each other. There are similarities between all of these people. They are all products of the fascist regime, whether or not they are willing to admit it. 

Beyond the minutia, the film was well done. The acting was impeccable and consistent for all of the characters. The costumes were gorgeous and representative of the characters — specifically, the vibrant nature of Lucy Gray’s dress in the colorless district. The scenes on screen were beautiful and graphic, keeping the audience stuck on a seesaw of emotions. 

All of you Hunger Games fans should head out to the closest movie theater to watch, and may the odds be ever in your favor.