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A Return to “The Hunger Games”: Are You Coming To The Tree?

A Return to The Hunger Games: Are You Coming To The Tree?
@lionsgate

The long awaited prequel to “The Hunger Games” is close to arrival. “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” comes out in theaters Nov. 17, 2023. The PG-13 picture, directed and produced by Francis Lawrence, is the fourth “Hunger Games” movie.

Based on the book, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins, the film follows young Coriolanus Snow (played by Tom Blyth) as he mentors a District 12 tribute for the 10th annual Hunger Games. The District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray Baird (portrayed by Rachel Zegler), transfixes the Panem public, making the job an unusual experience for Snow. 

The release of the book and expectation of the movie excited junior Bailey Doherty. “When I was watching the original trilogy, I always had questions about President Snow’s past,” Doherty said.

For Valley students, the movie is a callback to the books that shaped their middle school years.

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“The other movies played a big role in my childhood. And it’s fun to kind of see them come back and be revived now that I’m older,” senior Domina Mallette said, who read the prequel in eighth grade. 

Snow first appears in the original trilogy as the president of Panem — where he rules with a cruel grip and tight reins. The events of the prequel take place 64 years before the time of Katniss and Peeta. The timeline shows an intimate perspective on Snow’s development.

“He was a good kid who was twisted by war and the Capitol,” Doherty said.

Mallette has a similar view of Snow. “I actually really liked him in the prequel. But obviously as the story progresses, he takes that more evil stance,” Mallette said.

The adaptation will feature many complex characters, and the relationships between them. Doherty wants to see a scene between Lucy Gray and Snow, exemplifying these character transformations. 

“It’s one of my favorites. Because you see this super sweet girl go to this psychotic maniac. In literally a blink of an eye,” Doherty said.

This action and adventure film has set high expectations for viewers, but with any book to movie adaptation, there is some expectancy to stray off the path.

“I’m hoping they do a good job effects-wise, and just make it look really realistic,” Mallette said.

One aspect fans have been craving, however, is the soundtrack. The nostalgic song “The Hanging Tree”, featured in the original movies, was covered and released by Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray. Zegler also performs “The Ballad of Lucy Gray” and “Nothing You Can Take From Me”.

Olivia Rodrigo also contributed to the soundtrack, dropping “Can’t Catch Me Now” prior to the release of the movie.

The expectations are high for an addition to one of the most famous YA movie franchises. So, in the words of Lucy Gray: Are you coming to the tree?

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