• February 18McGinty takes 3rd, Townshend 5th at Wrestling State Meet
  • February 18Swim and Dive Teams Sweep States
The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

A junior girls group (L to R: Ava Nauman, Elsie MacCleery, Caroline Grist, Lucy Vigilante, Ella Pinto, Emily See, Gigi Hathaway, Jean-Nika VDW, Mackenzie Kinnan)  sings Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars for their singing valentine.
Singing Valentines Gallery
Cooper Shelton, Staff Writer • February 20, 2024

“Hunger Games: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” sings its way to the top

The prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy astounds and amazes
+The+Ballad+of+Songbirds+and+Snakes+features+a+fabulous+cast+including+Viola+Davis%2C+Peter+Dinklage%2C+Hunter+Schafer%2C+and+more.%0A
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes features a fabulous cast including Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, and more.

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

 If you have noticed a strange amount of Josh Hutcherson fan edits on your “For You” page set to Flo Rida’s “Whistle”, you’re not the only one. You might be wondering what has caused the resurgence of this almost decade-old video, and no it’s not just Hutcherson’s new show. It’s the revival of a trilogy made in a time of dystopian novels and horrific galaxy leggings. And now we see the story brought back to life, in a movie similar to its predecessors, with a charismatic Flickerman, a bloodthirsty Head GameMaker, and two lovestruck protagonists. But does the new prequel leave something to be desired? 

As the story travels back in time to the 10th annual Hunger Games, we follow a young, and unfortunately attractive, Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as he battles with his family’s desperate financial situation. As a final academic challenge before graduation, Snow and 23 of his classmates are chosen to become the first mentors of the Hunger Games, an idea conjured up by the sadistic Head GameMaker, Dr. Gaul (Viola Davis). But as the Games loom closer, Snow finds himself growing attached to his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a fantastic movie. I was hesitant to say this after viewing it only once, but after watching it a second time I realized just how wrong the Rotten Tomatoes score of a mere 64% was. The acting and costumes, paired with the soundtrack, made for a worthwhile movie that very much met my expectations. 

I have never thoroughly enjoyed a movie’s soundtrack as much as I enjoyed this one. Featuring Olivia Rodrigo, Sierra Ferrell, Billy Strings, Rachel Zegler, and Flatland Cavalry, the songs, although different in vocals and instruments, combine to create a haunted and bittersweet soundtrack perfectly matching the devastating end of the movie. While the mood of many of the songs is melancholy, I love the soundtracks’ variety. Some songs are slow and smooth, others upbeat and syncopated. Rodrigo’s “Can’t Catch Me Now” is a fantastic way to conclude the movie, rolling into the end credits with lyrics voicing the audience’s questions about the fate of Lucy Gray Baird. Rachel Zegler, with her husky and powerful vocals, was the perfect choice for Lucy Gray, her folk songs a great pairing to Lucy’s Southern accent. Sierra Ferrall’s “The Garden” has a soft, bluegrass feel to it, and the lyrics left me wondering, is the song sung from the perspective of Lucy Gray? If so, does this mean she finds someone else after the movie concludes? Or was it her singing about meeting Coriolanus?

Another fabulous aspect of this movie was the acting. A movie is nothing without great portrayals of its characters, and the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was not lacking. I would credit the best ‘job well done’ to Viola Davis for her representation of Dr. Volumnia Gaul, as she nailed Gaul’s sadistic and cruel nature. Davis’ portrayal of Gaul was made even better by her wardrobe that nailed her character as well as Davis’ acting did, featuring a variety of animal skins and her infamous red gloves. Another side character whose acting was phenomenal was Josh Andres Rivera’s interpretation of Sejanus Plinth, the wealthy boy from District 2 who detests the Hunger Games as much as he does his father. Rivera was exceptional, perfectly capturing Sejanus’ animosity for the Hunger Games and his drive to make a positive impact on the world. One scene that stuck out to me was at the beginning of the games when Marcus’ body is put on display. Rivera did an amazing job at showing Sejanus’ anger towards the brutality of the Capitol in this scene – and not just because he threw his chair. 

One thing I found lacking in the movie, however, was Snow’s character development. The way it is framed, Coriolanus only became a vengeful, traitorous character at the end, only partly by choice. His turning seemed to be fueled by Sejanus’ death, and finalized by Lucy Gray running away. I wish it were portrayed more similarly to how it was written in the book. Unlike the movie, the book provides a look into Snow’s mind and his perspective on the events that take place throughout the story. The reader gets to see Snow’s inner monologue and is shown how corrupt he is throughout the whole story. Yes, he does have a progression into becoming more depraved, but what the movie fails to do is depict how, at his core, Snow was already an evil and corrupt person. 

While it is sad to think that this movie most likely concludes any more developments in the Hunger Games franchise, I hope that it has revived or inspired peoples’ love for this amazing series. So, let us sit back and enjoy those Josh Hutcherson edits, at least before it’s gone for good.

Donate to The Western Hemisphere
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Western Albemarle High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Audrey Miracle, Editor-in-Chief
Audrey is a junior at Western in her third year of Journalism and is a co-Editor-in-Chief. She is a member of the WAHS Swim Team and likes to spend her spare time reading books, listening to music, and watching TV. Audrey's favorite thing to do at Western is decorating the halls and dressing up for Spirit Week.
Donate to The Western Hemisphere
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal