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Movie Review – The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

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There were a few things to like, but a whole bunch of “what the #$%@ are they doing” in this movie.

The Good

The acting was generally good. Headlining the effort is Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow. I thought he had a solid performance as the young Snow. I was especially impressed with Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul. I think people underestimate how hard it is to portray such a wackadoo character. There’s little for the actor to imitate, they have to embody a completely foreign persona. Kudos to Viola. And of course Peter Dinklage made a monument of a performance with only a few scenes. I haven’t read the book, but I have to wonder if Susan Collins had Peter Dinklage in mind when she wrote the character. Either way, Dinklage is a master. It’s the performance of these two actors that saves this movie from the dreaded D-rating.

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There were a few nice nuggets that echo into the Hunger Games. I especially liked Lucky Flickerman’s comment that would later become, “May the odds forever be in your favor.” And there were a few others here and there as well. Probably even more than I noticed since it’s been so long since I’ve seen the original trilogy.

The best thing about this movie is, as my wife said, it makes me want to rewatch the original Hunger Games again. It’s a trilogy long overdue for a rewatch.

The Bad, a.k.a. everything else

The story itself started out strong and went directly downhill without pause. The last 30 minutes of the movie turn into a complete meltdown of plot and character motivation. And that’s unfortunate because there was so much potential if they had only gotten it right.

I’m curious what you think about the love between Coriolanus and Lucy. Did it seem that the really loved each other? Because if you ask me, I just don’t buy it as anything other than young infatuation, at best.

How It Should Have Ended

This is a long-ish movie, which is fine, but the story feels like two movies. I think this could have been more entertaining if they had split this movie into two parts, the arena scenes, and then everything that happens afterward. As it is it’s very disjointed. I mentioned earlier that the love between the two main characters felt forced at best. Personally, I think it would work better if Snow reluctantly falls in love with Lucy, but from the audience’s perspective, it should never be clear if Lucy loves Snow, or if she’s just using him because she wants him motivated to save her life. There’s so much potential for dramatic conflict, both between characters and internally within each character. But it seems that the writers had no interest in exploring that.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: I have another movie to do Peetimes for directly after this movie ends. I’ll add some Peetimes, but I don’t have time to go into details in the synopsis. Update: I just got home. I’ll start updating these Peetimes and adding details. Swipe down from the top of the screen to refresh the Peetimes.

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There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Rated: (PG-13) Strong Violent Content | Disturbing Material
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
Starring: Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer(s): Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins
Language: English
Country: United States

Coriolanus Snow at age 18, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem. Young Coriolanus is handsome and charming, and though the Snow family has fallen on hard times, he sees a chance for a change in his fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor for the Tenth Hunger Games. only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.

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2 responses to “Movie Review – The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

  1. No offense, but you’ve obviously never read any of the books, especially the one this is based on. Snow is a unreliable main character, being a manipulative monster who just used Lucy Grey to become more powerful. Most of the drama doesn’t come from Snow and Lucy Grey’s relationship, but the way Snow descends into full on villainy, becoming the snow we see in the original series. You seemed to have missed the entire point of the movie.

    1. You’re right, I haven’t read the new books, but I don’t think it matters. If the movie follows the books then I think Collins should have revisited her character development. I’ll admit that I’m overly critical of writing. I think that over time movie production has improved dramatically, from CGI to acting. But writing has barely changed. Most stories are still infested with plot holes and poor character development.

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