‘The Hunger Games’ returns with brilliant new movie adaptation

The Mockingjay returns with Lionsgate’s most anticipated movie of the year, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (TBSS), finally making it onto the big screen. Before we are faced with Katniss Everdeen or Peeta Mellark, we get to see the rise of young Coriolanus Snow, the soon-to-be President of Panem, and how the 10th Annual Hunger Games changed his life and those of others. 

It’s an incredible story of love, friendship and how one event can change the course of history forever. Without a doubt, “The Hunger Games” series is one of the best young adult (YA) book-to-movie adaptations of our time, but “TBSS” may have it beat by a long shot. 

What I loved most about the movie was how it broke into three parts, similar to how author Suzanne Collins wrote the book. Through these distinct breaks in the story, the audience can clearly see how easy it was for Snow to rise to power and become who we all grew up reading about. Starting as an orphan and the only male in the Snow family, Coriolanus seeks out the Plinth Prize, which secures him a real chance at getting into the University and on track to become the President of Panem when he’s older. 

Another issue I had with the movie was the lack of details that are very important in the book.

His odds become slim when he realizes he must mentor District 12’s female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, in the 10th Hunger Games. I was amazed to see how well everything came together and how, despite being a prequel to a critically acclaimed series, Collins has proven how much story-building remains in the world she created. 

It’s no secret that Rachel Zegler is a true star on the rise. Her ability to capture the charm and fight within Baird while trying to appear innocent and unsuspecting in the arena should be studied. Despite receiving backlash online for her role in Disney’s reboot of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the New Jersey native defies the online hate and proves she is a force to be reckoned with. Alongside Zegler, Tom Blyth is a powerhouse and embodies the role, even speaking in the cadence of his successor, Donald Sutherland. Seeing Blyth act with all charm and wit made it very difficult to remember just how evil and corrupted he becomes in the future. 

“Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer plays Tigris, the cousin of President Snow whom we briefly meet in the original series. While it was exciting to finally see a younger Tigris, I was left still wanting more. In the book, she gets a little more development as we catch a glimpse into how she helped her family survive The Dark Days of the war and how much of an anchor she is for Snow during his mentorship of Baird. 

I still would have liked to have seen more of Tigris’ background and what she had done to be practically disowned by Snow in the future as president. Another issue I had with the movie was the lack of details that are very important in the book. Baird’s connection to her band, The Covey, is significant in the text, and she uses music to express herself, further projecting the story. 

From a direct connection to Katniss when singing “Deep In The Meadow” or including the internal battle felt between Snow watching Baird sing a song about her ex-lover, those are the kinds of songs I would have hoped to see make the film. Even her direct references to the Mockingjay and how it correlates to Katniss and the rebellion later on, it would have been an excellent teaser for someone unsuspecting to see in theaters and be completely shocked about.

While movies like Disney’s “Wish” or Apple’s “Napoleon” struggled at the box office this Thanksgiving weekend, “TBSS” remained undefeated as it brought in $5.9 million on the holiday and brought the domestic total to $69.6 million. The movie has remained a trending topic of discussion across various platforms like X and TikTok, and it will likely remain that way for the coming weeks. I guess you could say that Snow really does land on top!


5/5 Stars 




Featured photo courtesy of @thehungergames, Instagram