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The Talon

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The Talon

The Talon

Is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes worth your while?

Is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes worth your while?
Amarillys Jones

In the sixth grade, I had fallen out of touch with reading. I had trouble adjusting to middle school and how to fit in. Later on, I would start to get the hang of it and decided to pick up the one thing I loved the most, books. In doing so I asked my sixth-grade teacher for any recommendation and she recommended The Hunger Games by Suzzane Collins. 

I had never heard of this novel before let alone did I ever touch science fiction. My teacher explained that it was about a girl named Katniss who lives in District 12. Every year there is a repealing of kids that will have to kill each other in an area. Only one Victor survives. 

By that description alone, I was hooked. I picked up the novel and it was the best decision I have ever made. 

Over two days I finished all three books in three sittings. The story’s plot and overall characterization blew my mind. I felt emotions I never thought I would feel reading a series of books. 

I of course took it upon myself to watch all the movies and make the series my whole personality. To this day, I still do. 

As time passed, there had been no news about other Hunger Games books. I and other fans wanted a Hammich Prequel. He was the funniest and most real character in the series. Hence his likable qualities lead to fans wanting a prequel. However, surprisingly Collins had other ideas. 

It was announced that The Ballad of Songbids and Snakes was to be released on May 19th, 2020. This new novel would follow President Snow’s origin story. He was a prominent character throughout the whole series. 

With this being said, I thought I was going into cardiac arrest. I pre-ordered the book so fast and made sure I would be able to get it. Snow was such an intriguing character and many (like myself) always wondered why he was ruthless and determined to be a villain. 

As time passed, I awaited the book’s release. However, as months passed Covid-19 took the world by storm. I did not think I would get my book in time. 

Thankfully I did. I had to pick it up outside the Barn and Noble I preordered from. They handed me my copy and I ran back to my father’s car. When I opened it I found a pin and a bookmark that had the book’s cover on it. 

The funniest thing is to this day I have not read the book. You might be wondering why. Well, it’s because childhood is a precious thing to hold onto. Many let it go but I wanted to keep it with me. I never wanted to start losing it until I was ready to. 

  So I waited. 

Amid my await, the media announced that The Ballad of Songbirds and Songsnakes movie was put into the works. I have never felt that much excitement in my life. 

As time passed I would check up to see updates and see if the movie would start film production. Unfortunately in 2020, Covid 19 put this process to a halt. I was saddened but hoped for something to work out still. 

A couple of years later, on April 27th, 2023, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes trailer was released. It was officially innocent that the movie would be out on November 17th 20223. I was running for the hills and screaming for joy. 

That brings me here today on December 4th to tell you my experience and thoughts. 

Luckily for me as a Super Hunger Games fan, I got early access tickets to go see it on November 16th, 2023. That Day I had a book club meeting to run and I was even more joyful to tell my fellow book friends about my lucky inheritance. 

I made my best friend Angelkeen binge-watch the movies so that I could steal her to see the new one with me. This also made her a very obsessive Hunger Games Stand which I take pride in. 

Anyway, after the meeting we both ran to my father’s car and headed straight to the movies. I had the pre-order pin with me and it felt like I was floating. 

Once we got into the theater we grabbed popcorn and two large sodas. After we sat down and never got up. 

Days after, I hit the jackpot again. My mother and Aunt are fans of the franchise as well. They tried seeing the movie without me, but I of course convinced them to bring me. 

I was so excited to see this film again and find other little details I missed on my first watch. They bought the tickets and on Thanksgiving day (November 24th, 2023), I went to see The Ballad of Songbids and Snakes for the second time. 

 

Movie depth (in my own words): 

The movie starts with our main character Cornianus Snow. He has a cousin named Trigis and a grandmother known as Grandma’am. They live in a very poor area with no money and no hope other than Snow bringing in money. 

This is because he is a part of the council the capital organizes. If he can make it to the top he can make a lot of money. 

However, this year the capital wants to put a spin on the games. Each member will become a mentor to those who are reaped and they will have to train them to win. Snow does not get this concept and hates it at first. 

However, he realizes to help his family, he has to do what it takes. 

At the repealing, he gets a girl named Lucy Gray. She becomes the main protagonist of the movie as well as the book. 

He will have to train the no-good rebel girl from District 12 how to win the Hunger Games, but can he do it? 

     Review of the movie: part 1(spoilers ahead!!!!) 

My initial thoughts 

Throughout the whole movie, I felt Snow’s villain origin story was not rushed and was the most engaging one I’ve watched on the big screen in a long time. The actor who plays Snow, Tom Blyth, acted fantastically bringing in raw emotion and connection. Most of the time I couldn’t figure out whether to hate Snow or love him. The same goes for our main female protagonist, Lucy Gray. 

Although many have a lot to say About Rachel Zegler, She played a phenomenal part in this movie. Her emotions were raw and felt so real, Her voice was heavenly. Her singing and performance of the songs deserve an award. 

One of the main scenes where you can see how talented she is towards the middle act. She is getting covered by snakes as they try to “kill her” after Dr. Volumina Gaul says there are to be no victors. The way she belted and acted with so much emotion was amazing. I have not seen someone so talented before.

Even as the movie progressed, both Bylth and Zegler had a stunning connection. You could see the romantic feelings both characters had for each other and the hatred they would later have for each other. It was perfect. 

I walked out of that movie theater mouth agape by the ending. I believe Lucy Gray died from Snow’s gunfire after he shot all those trees to kill her. I thought that scene was crazy and had me on the edge of my toes. 

The song Can’t Catch Now by Oliva Rodorgio was such a perfect touch to the ending and the movie as a whole.  

   Review of the movie: part 2 (spoilers ahead!!!!) 

Final Thoughts  

 As a whole, this movie is a solid 10. I know my opinion might be biased but hear me out. I noticed three main things that make this movie amazing. These being:

Foreshadowing

The foreshadowing was mindblowing and fantastic. When I was watching it for the second time I wanted to catch these moments because it would give more meaning to the story. In doing so, the first scene opens with Snow sitting on his bed thinking. As he does he looks over at his floor. On his floor is a box of rat poison. This poison would later come back into the storyline as Lucy Gray uses it to kill most of the tributes in the Hunger Games. It was given to her by Snow because to win he wanted to give her an advantage. 

As the movie progresses, there’s a main catcher named Jessup that gets a bat bite. He then develops rabies and goes completely mad. Lucy Gray had been helping him survive, but because of his delusional state, he tried to kill her. Snow somehow convinces Jessup’s mentor to send water to scare Jessup because in WW1 it was documented that people with rabies were scared by it. It ends up working but Jessup dies. 

Furthermore, this correlates with the first opening scene where a dog with rabies chases both Snow and Tirgirs in the streets. They scare it off with a trash bin that has water in it. It leads to not only the foreshadowing of Jessup’s death but also the aspect of Snow getting away with a win. This is because, in the end, Lucy Gray does win the Hunger Games and survives. 

There are other moments of foreshadowing such as Katniss on Lucy Grays’s dress and her singing it to eat soup later in the movie. The mockingjays are also a big part of foreshadowing in this movie because Katniss is revealed as a Mockingjay later in the series. 

There are plenty of other foreshadowing moments but these are the ones I wanted to capitalize on and what I thought was clever and perfect for the storyline. 

Characterization 

One of the best things about this franchise has to be the characterization Collins comes up with. We have characters like Katniss, Peeta, Lucy Gray, Sejanus, Haymitch, Finnick, Johanna, Rue, and Cinna that are fan favorite characters because of their personalities and sufferings. Their backgrounds about how they survived the Hunger Games or how they helped Katinss are what make the story the most engaging part. 

Then you have characters like Gale, Snow, and Coin who are ruthless villains you hate but find fascinating. They add fuel to the plot and discussion among everyone. 

Within this movie, the characterization stood out the most in this movie. The emotions that I felt when watching Snow become a villain were emotions I had never felt before. It was like the person I had known for so long changed into something I hated the most. Lucy Gray was a character I cringed at but soon turned into losing. Each character that shared the screen with them made me feel anger and heartbreak all at once. Especially when one of my favorite characters, Sejauns died. 

There is never a dull moment with any of the characters and how their story is laid out. That’s what makes this series so enjoyable and can be able to connect with so many people. 

Tone

In every piece of Collins’s work, there has always been a daunting tone. What I mean by this is all the characters have something to say and whether that be verbal, there is a daunting tone in body language and sensory. 

Something or someone always catches the reader or viewer off guard. It becomes this mystery and intrigue atmosphere that makes people love the Hunger Games so much. 

Will Snow’s lying catch up to him? Does his people-pleasing ways get the best of his morals? Why does one become a villain because of love?

Throughout the whole movie, these are the questions I was coming up with in my head constantly. I wanted to know more and ask more even when it was done. It leaves you to become mad. As Highbottom once said, “Mysteries drive people mad”. 

Ending Statement

I will forever cherish this franchise and what this movie brought to the table. For any of you wondering when I will be reading the book, I have started it and hope to finish it by next year. 

Hopefully, I will have another article for all of you interested in reading my review of the book.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Amarillys Jones, Co-Editor in Chief-Lit Mag, Book Columnist/Junior Content Editor
Co-editor in-chief of the Book Columnist/Junior Content/ Literary Magazine Editor. Amarillys Jones has been in the Communications and Journalism Program for three years and is a member of the Class of 2025. She tends to be quiet and reserved most of the time. Their favorite thing to do is read. If they could read for the rest of their life they would. They have other interests in baking, painting, song artists (most specifically Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift), boxing, and wrestling. They are also president of the Book Club.