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WINGSPAN

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Fifth installment of the Hunger Games movie franchise satisfies fans

Lionsgate Films

More than eight years after The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 was released, the fifth installment of the Hunger Games movie franchise, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is now out with audiences enjoying it more than critics

The story is a prequel to the original Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and is set during the 10th annual Hunger Games. The plot is centered on Coriolanus Snow, the future President Snow of the original series, and his journey of mentoring a tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird. 

The film features parallels from the original books where tributes from District 12 are seen as runts while tributes from Districts 1, 2, and 4 seem to have a better chance because they appear to be the only ones who seem to be fed. 

The capitol academy students are appointed as mentors but Snow has fallen out of grace with his mentor, Highbottom, and so he is dealt the worst hand. However, he is determined to be the best mentor he can be so he can win the Plynth Prize, a substantial reward for the most advanced student at the Capitol academy (his family is extremely broke). 

The goal of the Hunger Games is to remind the districts that they must always be loyal to the capitol as a punishment for their rebellion 13 years ago. But nobody wants to watch as none of the civilians in the districts want to see their own kids be slaughtered. With this in mind, Dr. Gaul, head game-maker, tasks the academy students to make the games into a spectacle. 

So, Snow comes up with the idea to parade and showcase the tributes while bringing in sponsors which helps get viewers involved in the games. This idea was brilliant, and it is what ends up saving Lucy Gray. Lucy Gray is part of the Covey, a traveling music group that ends up being rounded into  District 12. She is able to win over sponsors by singing and ends up winning  as her vocal skills wins over the entire population in Panem. But she doesn’t do it alone as Snow cheats. As a punishment Snow is sent to be a Peacekeeper, where he reunites with Lucy Gray. 

There was supposed to be a blooming relationship between the two characters, however, the progression of the relationships felt rushed, almost like they were just trying to fit a time limit. The relationship seemed to fly out of nowhere. There was some level of indication that they had feelings for each other during the games, but it wasn’t explored as well as it should have. To understand Snow’s character in the original series, you have to understand why he is the way he is, and that is because of Lucy Gray. It is because she got so deep under his skin that he would remember her for decades. It is because of Lucy Gray that Snow has such a deep hatred for District 12. The film would’ve been much more deep if they had taken the time to really show what made Lucy Gray so special to Snow. 

However, a relationship that was done incredibly well was the one between Sejanus, played by Josh Anrés Rivera, and Snow.  Through this relationship the audience was really able to see Snow’s descent into darkness. The level of betrayal when Snow turned Sejanus in was insane especially considering the fact that Snow inherits Sejanus’s family fortune. This really embodies the psychopath that Snow is. Another relationship that shows the dismantling of Snow as a character is the one with his cousin Tigris. The real shot to the heart was when Tigris called him by his full name and compared him to his father, referring to him as his nickname his entire life. Tigris also made it a point to let Snow know that his father was a hateful man. 

The cast was incredible in this movie. Rachel Zegler is truly incredible. From the Appalachian accent, to her singing, to her acting, she really embodied Lucy Gray and made that role her own. Of course there were some big stars in the movie as well with Viola Davis as Dr. Gaul, Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, and Hunter Schafer as Tigris. However, all of these stars were completely outshined by Zegler’s heart wrenching performance. She was really able to make the audience feel sorry for her in more ways than one. One of the ways she did this was the way she delivered her songs. The emotion on her face was heartbreaking when she was singing. 

To give credit where credit is due, Tom Blyth gave an incredible performance as Snow. He had an incredible range of emotions and was acting while he was acting. He was lying through his teeth so well that it made the audience fall for it as well. Blyth has also been made the internet’s star of the month as non-stop edits of him in the movie have been making the rounds. Blyth was truly the best choice for this role. Snow is meant to handsome, charming, and endearing all-while simultaneously being a complete psychopath that only cares about himself. 

Thanks to the release of this movie, new conversations about the entire Hunger Games universe are being sparked across different social media platforms, but mainly TikTok. Talks about the social commentary that comes across from Collins’s work have been a hot topic with the fandom debating back and forth theories and commentary about the movies, the books and everything in between. 

Although the movie feels rushed, it’s still enjoyable and is recommended to anyone who loved the original series and to anyone who just wants to watch a good film. 

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About the Contributor
Christine Han, Social Media Manager/Photographer/Staff Reporter
Christine Han is junior and this will be her second year on the Wingspan staff. She manages social media for Wingspan and is also a photographer. She will be participating in her 3rd year with the CTE Competitive Mock Trial Team. In her free time she likes to work in various women’s rights groups, read books, watch movies, and hang out with her friends. Contact Christine: Chaewon.Han.866@k12.friscoisd.org

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