Oakland — It's been eight years since we last saw Katniss and Peeta battling in a dystopian world. But the Hunger Games are back in theaters with a prequel — "The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes".
The film takes place 64 years before the events of the Games that we know and gives audiences a look at an earlier era of Panem, as the Capitol prepares for the 10th annual Hunger Games. This new movie also highlights Coriolanus Snow's backstory, adding dimension to the villainous character who later becomes Panem's tyrannical future president.
I was under the impression the movie wouldn’t delve into the dark nature of the book to preserve the PG-13 rating. I was wrong. Many of the scenes may lead you to believe something bad is going to happen as the story is a faithful adaptation. That being said, due to the book's length, it condensed the most crucial moments. Act 1 and 2 occur insanely fast with little room to take a breather. In terms of the Games themselves, the tributes received quite a bit of characterization, which I was honestly thrilled with — a little different from the book. Of the three acts, the second one feels the most rushed and has the most changes. It's a small detail, but many may be upset with the order of tributes' deaths and the way they die.
Besides that, every single scene they adapted is extremely accurate. I was wonderfully satisfied with that. In the case of the Jaberjays, they were just as spine-chilling as they were in the book. Every performance is done incredibly well and every actor makes the character 100% their own. Sejanus' character is excellent. He's a character whose role I thought they were going to cut, but they didn't. Lucy Gray is just as charming and mysterious as she is in the book.
As a Hunger Games fan myself and as someone who has read the book, this movie is utter perfection as they got every single detail correct, and not to mention the singing that Rachel Zegler performed was beautiful. One of my favorite scenes from the movie- referenced “Katniss,” a flower that one of the Covey members picks up and gives to Lucy. The “flower” references the revenge that Lucy Gray will hand to Snow in 64 years.
Ana G. Valdes, (she/her) is an Oakland-based journalist who covers culture and entertainment, films and TV shows.
Edited by Nykeya Woods