The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023)
November 19, 2023 4:31 PM - Subscribe

Coriolanus Snow mentors and develops feelings for the female District 12 tribute during the 10th Hunger Games.
posted by cozenedindigo (5 comments total)
that did happen
did that need to happen?
that did not need to happen

also... not enough Hunter Schaefer
posted by kokaku at 8:09 AM on November 25, 2023

I quite liked the book, but reviews of the movie are bad enough that I'm not likely to see it.

(Like many people, I kind of assumed the book was going to be a cash-grab by an author who had run out of ideas about a character no one cared about. I was pleasantly surprised when instead, it turned out to be one of those weird obsessive ideas that won't let an author go until they get the book written -- in this case, an I-can-do-a-better-Darth-Vader-origin-story inspired by a weird 18th century poem.)
posted by kyrademon at 6:21 AM on November 26, 2023

christy lemire at ebert liked it.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:33 PM on November 26, 2023

Just saw this. I thought the movie was a decent adaptation although I found it kind of boring? It didn't grab me, even though I found the book better written and interesting than I expected it to be.

The main problems I had with the movie:

I feel like they made some changes that don't make sense to me, b/c they seem to "soften" Snow's actions too much and also undermined his ambitions. Specifically, the handkerchief in the snake tank - as I recall in the book, he happened to be mtg with Dr. Gail about something, and that's when he saw the tank and impulsively put the handkerchief in there.

What bothered me more was in the Sejanus story line. In the book, if I'm remembering correctly, Snow makes a purposeful choice to turn on the recording the device. Whereas in the movie, it just sort of happens to record and he just doesn't delete it. Also in the book, applying to the officer academy and taking the exam is something he chooses to do. I think these two points were important for setting up the end of the film - he clearly had ambitions, he wanted to return to the Capitol, and he still had loyalty to the Capitol. He only decided to run away with Lucy b/c he felt like he had no choice since those guns were still out there. That's why once they find the guns, both Snow and Lucy realize she is the one remaining loose end. And what he did to Sejanus shows that he is willing to sell out people who care about him to get what he wants.

Though in terms of actual enjoyment of the movie, my biggest problem was just that I didn't see much chemistry or anything between the two leads. Their acting was good - especially the actor playing Snow, though I think the singing by Lucy Gray's actress was great, and she was at her best when singing. I get that even in the book, since it's from Snow's perspective, we don't really know how Lucy feels, but I think it's pretty clear that once she gets over her initial mistrust, she does have genuine feelings for him. Snow's feelings always seemed like there was a lot of possessiveness, but still, in the movie, there was no spark there. Any time they were interacting, it just felt kind of dead.

Which was a shame. B/c their evolving relationship - and the sort of dramatic destruction of that relationship - is an important core of the story.

Although I never really thought it made sense - in either the book or the movie - for him to go after her with a gun. She was very clearly not going to tell anyone, since she was apparently the Mayor's prime suspect. Also she's from the most looked down upon district. If she ever came forward to rat him out, she would absolutely be executed. And she was clearly scared enough of Snow at that point that why would she risk it? But I guess it makes for a more dramatic finish. It jt just never felt earned.

And frankly, this was probably more contemplation than the movie really earned. I do enjoy the soundtrack to the movie.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2023

Whereas in the movie, it just sort of happens to record and he just doesn't delete it.

With the power of bluray, I can confirm he's shown a demonstration by Doctor Gaul early on, that there is a device to turn on record. We are shown him turning it on during the conversation with Sejanus. But stupidly, that recording also contains his own voice. And symbolically of course, Snow is a snake, who used the birds as his weapon.


Meanwhile, Lucy is the songbird who uses snakes as weapons (very on the nose, but such is YA fiction?). I recall seeing Lucy Gray handle snakes 3 times. Once during the lottery, once in the arena, and once in the lake, with what looked like a scarlet kingsnake, which is notable for looking like some much more venomous snakes. We're told the snake bite to his arm was pretty dangerous, so she was definitely out to harm. Not sure if this was the snake from the lake, but I'm not sure what other cinematic purpose it would serve.

Overall, we know the general contour the film needs to take, but Snow doesn't feel like a coherent character. Having not read the books, I can't say whether it makes better sense written out but the sudden about face after finding the murder weapons is quite abrupt. Two minutes before he was complaining about people and running into the wilderness with his lover, and two minute after he's on the train to the most urban area in panem.
posted by pwnguin at 12:26 AM on April 15

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