Nothing you can take was ever worth keeping, except the newest addition to “The Hunger Games” film series, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

Online editor Jeny Jithesh reviews the “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”
Nothing you can take was ever worth keeping, except the newest addition to “The Hunger Games” film series, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

When “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was first announced around a year ago, the 12-year-old Katniss Everdeen fan in me was awakened. I was absolutely entranced by the thrilling and cinematic trailer for the newest addition to the famous “Hunger Games” film series. Having read all the books and watched all the movies, I already had expectations for each character in “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” and even higher expectations for the film’s quality in comparison to the other four movies in the enterprise. 

Walking out of the movie theater after its 2 hour 38-minute long showing, I was content in knowing that “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” not only lived up to but exceeded my expectations. With its gripping and exciting plot line and brilliantly portrayed characters, the film perfectly captured the essence of the Hunger Games prequel story detailing the life of Coriolanus Snow prior to his rule as president. 

The movie starts by showcasing \ the developing world of Panem, with details such as the Capitol itself and the various districts surrounding it. Similar to the book, the movie is organized into three distinct parts: Part I: The Mentor, Part II: The Prize, and Part III: The Peacekeeper. While this choice increased the clarity, I felt it added a sense of choppiness that took away from the film’s natural flow. 

Actor Tom Blyth played the illustrious (and elusive) character of Coriolaus Snow. Although the English actor has only been in two movies prior to “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” his performance was exceptional. His various transformations during the filmfrom struggling student to a boy in love to a man hungry for power– encapsulate the journey of Corio becoming President Snow. 

Even more captivating was Rachel Zegler’s performance as Lucy Gray Baird, the wildcard tribute from District 12. Zegler’s acting portrayed Lucy Gray’s charm well, particularly focusing on her uniquely spunky attitude. Although many have criticized Zegler’s Appalachian accent in the film and her tenacity to sing, the choice accurately reflects the storyline Suzanne Collins intended when she wrote the book. 

The movie’s soundtrack was probably its strongest asset. Singer Olivia Rodrigo’s single, “You Can’t Catch Me Now” has been stuck in my head for the past few weeks, and does an amazing job of capturing the conclusion of the film and the mystery of Lucy Gray. 

Unfortunately, many key scenes from the book were cut out due to time constraints. Although the general plot line was retained, the removals included intricate details that added to both the relationship between Coriolanus and Lucy Gray, and the gradual build-up to the betrayal and mystery of the climax. I especially enjoyed the ending of the film for the actors’ brilliant portrayal of powerful emotions, particularly Blyth’s performance in the woods. 

Overall, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was a beautiful adaptation of the original book and an impressive new addition to the “Hunger Games” collection. 

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About the Contributors
Jeny Jithesh, Online Editor
Jeny Jithesh is a senior and Online Editor of “The Express” and BVNWnews. This is her second year on staff as a writer. Outside of newspaper, Jeny is serving as the President of FBLA and KAY Club and participates in Student Government, NHS, NEHS, and Quill & Scroll. In her free time, Jeny loves going on walks with her parents, hanging out with friends, painting, and traveling. She is looking forward to contributing to BVNWNews as an editor and writer!
Lila Vancrum, Editor-In-Chief
​​Lila Vancrum is a senior and Editor-In-Chief for “The Express.” This is her third year on staff, previously serving as a photographer and photo editor. Outside of newspaper, Lila is involved in girl’s soccer, KAY Club, Team Up for St. Jude’s, NHS and Quill & Scroll. In her free time she enjoys going out to eat, hanging out with friends and binging TV shows, her favorites include “One Tree Hill” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Lila is excited to take on the role of being an Editor-In-Chief and hopes to improve the photography for stories and social media. 

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