To say this Hunger Games further fueled my obsession with the franchise is not an understatement.
In fact, it just made it worse because “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” beautifully curated President Snow’s origin story with its choice of cast, progression of the story and overall storyline of it.
If you’ve read or watched any of the Hunger Games franchise you know that president Snow, or Coriolanus, is the antagonist and is in control of Panem’s government, military and the reason why the Hunger Games still exist. This movie explores how he became president and how he became evil.
To begin, we’re brought back to when Coriolanus’ parents passed away as a result of fire from the 13th district. The war between the districts and the capitol occurred when he was about seven-years-old and though Coriolanus’s father was a major general in the military, Coriolanus’s cousin, Tigris, and his grandmother weren’t left with much food to spare, much less any wealth.
Coriolanus grows up and trains under an academy in the Capitol, where he is tasked to mentor one of the tributes as a final test in challenging the top 24 students for the plinth prize. The plinth prize is a monetary prize and is something he desperately wants and needs as his family is struggling to pay the rent and other expenses, he also wants to go to the Capitol’s university.
This challenge’s prompt was to create a spectacle out of the tribute without necessarily having to win. For Coriolanus this meant making Lucy Gray from district 12 stand out from the rest of the tributes.
First off, my eyes were glued to the screen, there was never a moment of boredom or confusion because of how the storyline was executed and was so done flawlessly. I didn’t know there was a book on president Snow’s origin story but now that I do, I’m going back into my 12-year-old’s spiral of the books again.
Obviously, this hunger game wasn’t as lavish as the one from Katniss’s time, but it was just as suspenseful, engaging and was well thought out. One of the reasons for this is the casting of Coriolanus as Tom Blythe and Lucy Gray as Rachel Zegler.
The acting completely captured and enhanced their respective characters, making it even more entertaining to watch. If there was a way you could see my face when Coriolanus’s face came onto the screen, you’d be disappointed in me. I know he later becomes evil, but this film proved he wasn’t always like that.
Blythe made it so he was seen as someone who once had compassion and sympathy even if it was just for this one movie.
He was good, and it almost made me forget that until my friend who I watched this with, gave me a “girl he literally killed people” face and I was brought back to reality.
I almost sympathized with him, I almost forgot about his future because I fell in love with the past that is this movie.
Rachel Zegler was not a person I would have imagined playing this character, because of her scandal with her attitude in playing another role, Snow White. Though the controversy surrounding that does not determine her quality of acting, it hurt her reputation.
But what cannot be said about her is that she wasn’t meant to be in this role. Lucy Gray was a singer, hence her nickname “songbird.” She was quirky and did not play by the rules, which is the energy Zegler exhibits naturally as an actor. She was just the perfect person for this role, I don’t think anyone else would have done it as well as she did.
A good percentage of the reason was also the fact that I find Tom Blythe attractive, and don’t roll your eyes. We’ve all watched something because we thought someone was attractive and I’m no different.
He is simply art, and this is an irrefutable fact, don’t argue with me. I understand he becomes a ruthless dictator in the end but there are more pressing issues in the world than me having a crush on a fictional character. He’s fictional, his actions are too. Primrose and Finnick don’t actually die, they are alive and well let’s remember that please.
Did I go down a TikTok rabbit hole of Tom Blythe in his buzz cut? Yes, but I am justified because I said so.
So, if you’re looking for a cast and movie to take you back to Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark’s time you should watch this movie. Because even with the different faces, it is the same franchise most people know and love.