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The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes

Opening Date
16 Nov 2023
PG13 Some Violence
157 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Action, Adventure
Francis Lawrenced
Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman
Experience the story of THE HUNGER GAMES -- 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem. THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray's charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
By InCinemas  16 Nov 2023
A ballad of ambition and determination.
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Fans will be pleased to know the latest installment of The Hunger Games franchise more than overcame the stigma of prequel films only existing as cash grabs for big studios. 

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, based on the 2020 novel of the same name by author Suzanne Collins, tells the origin story of young Coriolanus Snow–the future sadistic ruler of Panem. Serving as a prequel, the film is set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games (2012), following the events that eventually lead the young Snow on the path to becoming the infamous tyrannical leader, including his relationship with the Hunger Games tribute Lucy Gray Baird during the year of the 10th Hunger Games.

The fifth instalment stars Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman and Viola Davis. Francis Lawrence–who helmed the sequels in the franchise–returns to direct. 

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is less grandiose than Catching Fire (2013) but the less ornamental approach gives way to its strengths which lie in the hands of its great cast.

It’s no surprise West Side Story breakout star Zegler shines just as brightly here as she did in her film debut. We already know she won’t disappoint with her singing but her approach as the steadfast Lucy Gray further proves she’s a natural on the big screens. 

The supporting players–namely Schafer, Schwartzman and Davis who play Tigris Snow, Lucky Flickerman and Dr. Volumnia Gaul respectively–may have received lesser screentime in comparison but each bring compelling performances to the table, you'd be begging for more prequels just to see more of them. 

Having said that, Blyth as Coriolanus Snow is the true north star here, living up to his character’s mantra “snow lands on top”.  Snow is no saint of a character but Blyth’s calculated performance would still have you rooting for him despite the villainous tendencies he’s destined for. It’s the air of poise and wealth he exudes despite the life of poverty he faces, it’s his unwavering determination to restore his family name regardless of the consequences, and it's the way the Billy the Kid actor balances everything so perfectly that brings complexity to a stone-cold villain.

The concept of the Games are no less terrifying here but true to its predecessors, it is but a supporting character in a tale of wit and defiance.  

Long it may be but The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a faithful adaptation of its source material. It’s been 8 years since the last Hunger Games film was released in cinemas and now fans finally have something new to sing their praises for again.
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