Screen Time Reviews The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The latest addition to the Hunger Games franchise is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Based on the book of the same name by Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set 64 years before the first Hunger Games.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film follows the story of President Snow as a young man, and Lucy Gray – a tribute in the Hunger Games who he must mentor. The film features Tom Blythe as Coriolanus Snow, and Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray, along with an ensemble cast including Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzmann, Hunter Schafer, and Josh Andres Rivera.

The set strikes a clear delineation between the Capitol and the Districts. “If it is in the capital, it is clean, it is organised, exotic, and screaming status. If it is outside the capital, such as District 12, it looks very different. It is dark, stained, or rusty, but there is cool nature, trees and grass. Both sets combined give a very strong image of dystopia.”

Like Katniss Everdeen, Lucy Gray is a tribute from District 12, this time in the tenth annual Hunger Games. “The scenes do a good job of showing what the Hunger Games become in a world where the Hunger Games were not yet a spectacle. I almost feel like I am also a part of this world. Every scene shot feels like they are trying to show off a spectacle and then, being really meta, they have the tributes in a zoo cage as spectacles.”

Lucy Gray is a singer, and for David this was a stand out moment. “Rachel Zeglor aka Lucy Gray knocked it out of the ballpark. She did amazing. The vocal emotion, the messages in each song, the amazing vocal control. She is a singer through and through and I am definitely a fan now.”

“In this film, Lucy Gray sings when there is something to sing for. There is a lot to sing for. The injustice of the tributes, the love she feels for Coriolanus, and the soon-to-be doomedness of a certain thing in the games. All sang incredibly well.”

The film is divided into three parts, but the third and final part felt unnecessary or like it could have been done differently. “The first two parts were solid pacing, solid world-building, interaction, action etc. Part 3 felt like it was rushed and came out of nowhere. They probably could have left it ambiguous to gauge an audience reaction of some sort.”

Despite part 3 not being David’s cup of tea, it was still an overall enjoyable movie. “I believe everything was great. Design was good, the actors were pretty good. Story was good. Part 1 and 2 amazing.”