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The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

REVIEW | “Hunger Games” prequel was a ballad of confusion and mediocrity

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Yumi Domangue

On Nov. 17, 2023, “The Ballad of Song Birds and Snakes” premiered in theaters across the country. Fans of “The Hunger Games” trilogy flocked to their nearest theater to watch the prequel fly from the page to the big screen. After an uneventful two and a half hours and a talk with my friends, I realized it was a good thing I read the book before watching the movie or I would have been left confused with a million questions like them.

Let’s be frank, the movie was surprisingly close to the book, bland with a stagnant sense of danger. The movie follows Coriolanus Snow, AKA President Snow’s backstory. We are meant to see how Snow became the psychopath we see throughout the original “Hunger Games” trilogy. The dialogue was taken almost word for word out of the novel and successfully acted out without feeling forced or read off of a page. 

We were quickly introduced to over 15 important people in the first ten minutes of the movie; however, the only three you will remember are Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman and Casca Highbottom. The morbid and insane Gaul is brought to life by Viola Davis, who gave a memorable and convincing performance. 

Lucky Flickerman’s silly, goofy and out-of-touch personality is portrayed by Jason Swartzman. He had me giggling at the oblivious remarks he made during the 10th annual Hunger Games. Highbottom, played by Peter Dinklage, is a hardened figure who secretly opposes the Hunger Games. Peter Dinklage’s portrayal of  Dean Highbottom was perfectly brooding and filled with disdain for both the Games and Snow’s family. 

Like the novel, the movie is told from Snow’s point of view and split into three parts – “The Mentor,” “The Games” and “The Peacekeeper.” Each part signifies a turning point in Snow’s life – in case you were wondering, the odds were not in his favor. 

I always get a little worried when books with unreliable narrators are turned into movie adaptations because it is easy for the viewer to get lost. There is a substantial amount of inner dialogue from Snow in the novel that the audience never sees in the movie. Including the inner dialogue would have cleared up many seemingly random actions and mood changes.

It’s hard to write a backstory when everyone knows what happens in the end. In soon-to-be President Snow’s case, there was no sense of imminent danger aside from one brief moment in the middle of the movie.

Snow and his classmates are selected to mentor a tribute from each district. Enter, Lucy Gray from District 12.

Lucy Gray is basically a more colorfully dressed and musical version of Katniss, and that’s not saying much. Snow is assigned Lucy Gray and spends their brief time together trying to make her “desirable” to the audience. Lucy Gray’s talent is singing, and that is her only character trait aside from being able to pick up snakes. 

I wish we were able to see more of her interactions with the Covey, which is her family in the novel. Much of Lucy Gray’s personality is taken from Snow watching her with her family.

The settings throughout the movie are unique, yet bland and hard to visualize. Most of the movie takes place in the Capitol, which consists of unimpressive gray cement buildings, the arena and its colorfully dressed citizens. That being said, the setting does change to a familiar place beyond the Capitol.

Now, what you all have been waiting for, the romance. Somehow, the audience is supposed to believe Snow and Lucy Gray fall in love within the movie’s first 30 minutes. I genuinely sat there with my friends trying to decipher how a romance could brew without feelings from either character having been portrayed, especially when one of them is going to fight to the death. 

However, the “romance” evolves and unfolds in the last 30 minutes of the movie, leading me to tell myself, “maybe I should watch it again. It wasn’t too bad. The ending was good.”

If you are a fan of “The Hunger Games,” I recommend seeing BOSAS because why not? The movie is not terrible or amazing, but it does the job well enough. You get a glimpse into President Snow’s past, which is all Suzanne Collins promised. It may not be exactly what you wanted, but at least it’s something. If you don’t read, I recommend watching with a friend who read the novel and can unpack everything for you.

Happy watching, and as always, may the odds be ever in your favor.

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About the Contributors
Abigail Fischer, Social Media Editor
Abigail Fischer is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minors in French and publishing studies. During the Spring 2022 semester, she began working as a staff reporter for The Lion’s Roar. Abigail spends most of her time working, reading books and traveling. After graduation, she hopes to work as a copy editor in France.
Yumi Domangue, Staff Reporter & Graphic Designer
Yumi Domangue is a double major in mechatronics engineering technology and new media and animation. She joined Student Publications in the Fall of 2021 as a graphic designer. She intends to use her skills to have a career in design.
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    I.PeguesJan 29, 2024 at 2:41 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this please do more!

    Reply