The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Rise of Snow

Set 64 years before the events of the revolution, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” follows the origins of Coriolanus Snow, the future president of Panan in his early days on the path to becoming a ruthless dictator at the fault of a songbird.
Rise+of+Snow
Lionsgate Films

[insert Effie Trinket’s voice] Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 10th annual Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Decades before there was the Girl on Fire, Katniss Everdeen, there was a songbird by the name of Lucy Grey Baird (Rachel Zegler). Much like Jennifer Lawrence’s formidable Mockingjay, Lucy Gray is a young woman jostled from the outskirts of District 12 and enrolled as a tribute in a totalitarian nationwide annual celebration in which children fight to the death.

The only difference between the two is that Katniss is a fighter forced to perform — Lucy Gray is a performer forced to fight. With an ethereal voice and strong-willed ambition, she has enough acuity to have the odds be ever in her favor.

During the 10th Games, the competition was a little different. Instead of a gargantuan dome with intelligently modified creatures trying to rip tributes limb for limb, most of the action was calibrated in a colosseum, much like the ones meant for gladiators. Though it’s not as advanced as the futuristic games, the initial blueprint has always stayed the same: 24 tributes, two per district. Only one makes it out alive.

In order to add a little spice to this year’s games, the creator of the Hunger Games himself, dean Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage), pronounces that each tribute will get assigned a mentor from the Academy. Lucy Gray is fortunate in regard to who helps her maneuver this fight to the death: the one and only incredibly hot, 19-year-old student, Coriolanus Snow.

Though Donald Sutherland’s performance as Snow was impeccable in the original film, let’s momentarily disregard his gray-bearded, nearly desiccating villain. Here’s a younger, more attractive version of the not-yet-so deceitful future president of Panan, played by Tom Blyth. At this point, Snow has been through the Dark Days of the district’s revolt that tore his family to shreds, leaving him an orphan. His standout work at the academy impresses many higher-ups, most notably head game maker Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis), the woman who inevitably grooms Snow into becoming the heartless soul we see during the revolution. 

At its heart, the film is really about the steady and structured making of a monster.

If Snow’s tribute is to win the games, he’ll be in the running for the Plinth Scholarship, which would set him, his grandmother, and his cousin Tigris (Hunter Shaffer), up for life.  When first assigned to mentor District 12’s Lucy Gray Baird, Snow is so incredibly dejected that he falls into a runt. It isn’t until he sees her drop a snake down the dress of the mayor’s daughter during the Reaping ceremony and win over the crowd with a folksy tune that he realizes he can work with this so-called “runt girl.”

Having set all the pieces into place, the film does an exponential job of moving the characters about, colliding them with each other, and having them crumble to ruins at the fault of one another. There is a “friend” of Snow’s, Sejanus Plinth (Josh Andrés Rivera), who is a representation of both comraderie and moral conflict. There are also many villains added for effect, such as the perpetually intoxicated Highbottom, who has a bone to pick with Coriolanus, and Lucretius Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman), the first-time host of the Hunger Games, who has a bone to pick with anyone who can’t recall his name. Not to mention the large bucket of poisonous snakes that have a grand ol’ time during the second chapter. 

Within the movie, there are talks of rebellion and the fascist world these characters are subjected to. This film in particular is much more spine-chilling than the previous ones. The violence feel more brutal this time around because the teens do not have to dodge intricate threats to survive. They just have to pick up the weapons around them and aim for each other. (Some “not very good” drones are also used to increase the level of violence.) This is where the resourceful bond between Coriolanus and Lucy Gray starts to deepen. With their profound connection, it makes for a much more fraught third chapter filled with endless amounts of betrayal.

At its heart, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is really about the steady and structured making of a monster. This film is the origin story of a merciless villain, comparable to Darth Vader or Hannibal Lecter. If audiences want answers as to how or why Coriolanus Snow became the tyrant from the O.G. Hunger Games era, trust that this movie delivers.

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About the Contributor
Annika Good, Staff Writer
Annika is a Junior at Nash and this is her first year writing for The Uproar. She loves reading, music, and hanging out with friends. She loves to write and looks forward to doing so throughout the year.

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