The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

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Students reflect on “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is the newest addition to the franchise, released Nov. 17. It is the fifth installment of the series and is based on the book released by Suzanne Collins in 2020. 

Sophomore Annie Nguyen walked into the theater with high expectations after being a long-time fan of the novels and their movie spin-offs and walked out satisfied with the results.

“I think despite the restrictions that come with a live-action adaption, especially with books as detailed and action-packed as ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy, the movie did a good job at maintaining the purpose of the prequel in the first place,” Nguyen said. “When the book first came out in 2020, I’ll admit I was skeptical, as often continuations of a finished series were rarely good in my opinion, and honestly just cash grabs. However, I was pleasantly surprised that ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ did provide much more insight and introduced more pivotal characters to the original trilogy.”

The film is set 64 years before the original film and shows a young Coriolanus Snow on the path to becoming the leader of Panem, including his relationship with the Hunger Games District 12 contribution Lucy Gray Baird during the 10th Hunger Games. It has a star-studded cast including Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andres Rivera and Viola Davis. Sophomore Natalia Morales was intrigued to see how these actors and actresses would portray characters we had never seen before.

“I enjoyed seeing how the characters came about, especially Snow and Lucy Gray,” Morales said. “I also loved Rachel Zegler’s acting and singing; it was phenomenal.” 

In comparison to those who are superfans of the series, many went in without any prior knowledge of the films/books and just watched the film out of curiosity.

“I think it was well-written and produced,” freshman Anais Herrera said. “I’ve never read or seen the other movies/books, but I know the basic premise. I know a lot of people were complaining about how it lacks a lot of detail from the book, and hearing about the book from my friends who read it, I can see that, but as a movie, I think it was great.”

The series has been pulling in many fans since the book’s initial release in 2008, and Morales said she respects the oddity and is intrigued by the way Suzanne Collins portrays this fantasy world. 

“I think what initially drew me into the Hunger Games universe was how different it was from any other movie I had watched,” Morales said. “The idea of children fighting to death as a payment for a war was very dystopian and overall very interesting.” 

As it has been 13 years since the release of “Mockingjay,” the last book before the hiatus in the series, Nguyen said she was skeptical about this prequel. 

“I was a huge fan of the books back in fourth grade, and it was my first exposure to the dystopian genre, which fascinated me so much, and I love how well-written the books are,” Nguyen said. “Once I learned that there were movie adaptions to the books, I immediately dropped everything to go and watch it. Not only did the movies fuel my love for the series, but they were the first movies I fell in love with and sparked my love for film in general. Eventually, I became less obsessed with it as the years went by, but when I had heard of the release of a prequel, I remembered how much I loved the original series, and I immediately preordered the book.” 


By Leah NgSaye

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