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Snow's Ballad of Broadway Dreams: A Sarcastic Ode to 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) Review

The story of Coriolanus Snow, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem. He is young, very determined and though the Snow family has fallen on hard times, Coriolanus sees a chance for a change in his fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor a girl tribute named Lucy Gray Baird from the impoverished District 12.




Oh, where do I even start with “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”? Let's just dive into the cinematic soup that is this latest attempt to milk the dystopian cash cow one more time, shall we? Starring Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, and the ever-majestic Viola Davis, this movie takes us on a journey back to a time before President Snow was the tyrannical skincare routine enthusiast we all love to hate.


First off, the trailer had me at “The Hunger Games”, but lost me at “musical numbers”. Yes, folks, the Capitol apparently has Broadway aspirations now. And our young Coriolanus Snow, played by Tom Blyth, is desperately trying to climb out of poverty by mentoring in the 10th Hunger Games. His lottery ticket? A girl named Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. Because, of course, we hadn’t heard enough of District 12 already.


What I liked: If you're the kind of person who watches the Olympic Games for the opening ceremony and thinks, "This needs more life-or-death stakes," then you'll love the origin story of the Hunger Games themselves. Tom Blyth does a commendable job of stepping into Donald Sutherland's shoes, probably because he borrowed some of that Capitol-grade hair gel.


What I disliked: It took a whole 10 minutes before the first musical number. I mean, the anticipation was killing me! Also, the movie is longer than a Capitol banquet. They could’ve split it into two films, but then they remembered they're not Peter Jackson. And, oh, the singing. So. Much. Singing. Also, why does everyone insist on saying Lucy Gray Baird’s full name every time? Was there a discount on syllables?


In an interesting tidbit, the costume designer Trish Summerville mentioned that Lucy Gray's rainbow dress corset has katniss and primrose flowers on it, a nod to our beloved Everdeen sisters. Also, the Capitol's version of Lady Justice is holding two swords instead of a sword and scales, wearing no blindfold—because who needs blind justice when you can have blatantly biased justice, right?


And in the "things you can't make up" category, director Francis Lawrence was inspired to cast Viola Davis as the villain after seeing a meme. Yes, a meme. This is where we are now, folks. Casting decisions fueled by internet culture. Viola, with her gravitas, brings a sinister charm to her role, proving yet again that she can do anything—even make meme-inspired casting seem like a stroke of genius.


This blockbuster, one of the biggest to secure an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA during the 2023 actors' strike, meant we got all the promotional goodness without delay.

So, after sitting through this Capitol couture fever dream, I’m giving it a 6.8/10. It's like watching a car crash in slow motion—you know you shouldn't stare, but you just can't look away.



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