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  • February 20FCHS will be offering the ASVAB test to interested sophomores, juniors, and seniors. For details, please email [email protected]
  • February 20The FCHS Music Department is hosting a "Night at the Movies" Concert at 6pm on Thurs. Feb. 22. Tickets are $5. See Ms. Harkrader in room 1517 for details.
  • February 19The FCHS Library will be hosting a Read-A-Thon on Thurs. March 7. It is $1 per 30 minute block or $10 for the entire day. Funds go to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
  • January 20Juniors and seniors taking the SAT in March should check their email for information and a calendar invite from Ms. Blevins. Email [email protected] with questions.
The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Photo courtesy of Maddy Hamel
Hunger Games fan watches the trailer for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Songbirds and Snakes: It’s a Success

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is a newly-released movie based on the novel written by literary mastermind Suzanne Collins. The book came out May 19, 2020, and now, just over three years later, a movie version hit theaters on November 17, 2023.

As noted in a recent Fluco Beat article by senior Mia Turley, some fans were concerned that the movie wouldn’t live up to the hype of the novel, which was one of the top five books sold in 2020.

“I loved the book, it was very fascinating to see how everything developed. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I really hope that it does the book justice,” said sophomore Allison Rhodes.

The movie is directed by Francis Lawrence and stars Rachel Zegler as Lucy Grey Baird (the female tribute from District 12) and Tom Blyth as a young Coriolanus Snow (known from the other movies and books as President Snow). Other stars include Josh Andres-Rivera as Sejanus Plinth (one of Coriolanus’ classmates), Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow (Coriolanus’ cousin), Peter Dinklage as Dean Highbottom (one of the leaders of the Academy), and Viola Davis as Dr. Gaul (the Gamemaker and main advocate for the continuation of the games).

The story takes place a decade after the devastating civil war between the Capitol and the thirteen Districts and during the 10th annual Hunger Games. Coriolanus Snow, who fans remember from other “Hunger Games” books and movies as the murderous and determined President Snow, is an 18-year-old student at the Academy, a prestigious school for only the highest class citizens.

At the start of the movie, the previously wealthy Snow family has become desperately poor due to the war, even to the point of starvation, and is working to hide that fact and maintain their status. Snow and his fellow students at the Academy are all working to receive the Plinth Prize, a monetary award that could restore the fortunes of Snow’s family. Instead of awarding the prize to the student with the highest grade, the dean unexpectedly gives the students a new assignment: serve as a mentor to a tribute in the Hunger Games, with the best mentor earning the coveted Plinth Prize.

It turns out the games are struggling to survive because the Capitol citizens have grown tired of them. The 10th annual games are becoming experimental, with the Gamemaker, an intelligent and terrifying Dr. Gaul, grasping to get the ratings up. The citizens of the Capitol are plagued by worries of the remaining rebels and their threat to their world.

Coriolanus is assigned a small, scrawny teenage girl from District 12, Lucy Grey Baird, to mentor. He believes himself to be unlucky, thinking that there is absolutely no way she will last in the games, and thus, no way he will be awarded the prize he so desperately wants. However, as Lucy Grey begins to sing at her Reaping ceremony, Coriolanus gets some ideas.

Coriolanus is willing to go to extreme, and possibly even deadly, lengths to secure this Plinth Prize for himself and his family, but through all his efforts, some important questions arise: Does he truly care about his tribute? Will Coriolanus succeed in saving the Snow family? Is Coriolanus a good person who wants to save Lucy Grey, or a greedy young man who is only interested in personal gain?

The plot is attention-grabbing because readers and fans all across the globe have known Snow as the main antagonist of the original series, and now are getting an incredible insight to his rise to power and his life before presidency. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” gives readers and watchers an interesting new look into his thoughts, emotions, and struggles.

The director and cast do an excellent job captivating the audience despite the slightly long length of the movie (2 hours and 38 minutes). I didn’t get bored watching it because the action was well-integrated and the plot flowed smoothly, constantly leaving me eager to see what would happen next. Also, no matter how long a character was on screen, they each had an incredible depth to them, with the actors and actresses perfectly portraying the emotions someone in their position would be feeling.
Unfortunately, because the movie doesn’t have Coriolanus as a narrator like the book does, those who only see the movie may find it more difficult, if not at some points impossible, to appreciate just how desperate he is, to determine the true nature of his relationships with the other characters, and to understand how he is rationalizing his actions.

Overall, I give “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” an 8/10. I enjoyed it enough to see the movie twice, the second time with senior Axandrea Chittenden, who I believe sums up the movie well: “I think the movie is definitely worth watching. The cinematography is great and the cast does an amazing job portraying their characters.”

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