Thursday 14 December 2023

REVIEW: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023 Film) Starring Tom Blyth

Review by Jon Donnis
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes audiences on a journey 64 years before the events of the original film, exploring the origins of the infamous President Snow. Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film offers a compelling origin story for the trilogy's main antagonist while delivering both familiar and fresh elements for fans of the franchise.

The film succeeds in building upon the established mythology of The Hunger Games, striking a balance between nostalgia for the original trilogy and introducing new, engaging content. It manages to please fans while expanding the world and lore of Panem.

The portrayal of President Snow's early years is a strong point, providing a nuanced and compelling origin story for a character who becomes the primary antagonist in the original trilogy. Tom Blyth's performance as Coriolanus "Coryo" Snow is exceptional, marking a standout moment in his career.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is arguably the strongest installment in The Hunger Games film series, offering a fresh perspective on the dystopian world and its characters. The film succeeds in immersing viewers in the morally complex and politically charged landscape of Panem.

Despite a lengthy runtime, the film struggles with character development and story arcs. The pacing feels rushed, moving from one narrative element to another too quickly, leaving little room for audiences to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

Rachel Zegler's portrayal of Lucy Gray Baird, while earnest, is hindered by the poorly written character. The attempt at a Southern accent falls flat and becomes distracting, detracting from the overall immersion in the story.

The film's ending feels somewhat rushed and leaves certain storylines frustratingly unresolved. A more balanced conclusion could have provided a more satisfying payoff for viewers invested in the characters and plot.

With a runtime of 158 minutes, the film feels overly long. Trimming some unnecessary scenes could have improved the pacing without sacrificing the core narrative.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a solid addition to the franchise, offering a compelling origin story for President Snow. While the film has its flaws, including rushed pacing and underdeveloped characters, it successfully blends nostalgia with new content. Tom Blyth's standout performance and the exploration of Panem's history make it a must-watch for fans. Despite its imperfections, the film earns a fair 7.5 out of 10, making it a worthwhile experience for those invested in the Hunger Games universe.

Out Now in cinemas and on digital at 
Pre-order from Amazon at