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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes was a decent watch at The Light Cinema, Wisbech, but the characters are one-dimensional

Film review: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – seen at The Light Cinema, Wisbech

Starring: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer and Josh Andrés Rivera

Director: Francis Lawrence Run time: Two hours, 37 minutes

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

I only watched the first of the much-loved original four Hunger Games movies and thought it was merely ‘okay’, hence not continuing with the quartet.

But I was assured that being a prequel, I could watch this without too much prior knowledge and still follow everything. That assertion was correct, although I would guess certain words and phrases brought delight to die-hard fans.

The film itself is a decent watch as we are taken through the familiar scenes of ‘reaping’, where young ‘tributes’ from the 13 districts of the dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem are chosen for battle and paired up with mentors before taking part in The Games themselves, where they do battle to the death.

Events take place 64 years before the first film and see 18-year-old orphan Coriolanus Snow teamed up to mentor District 12 tribute, 16-year-old Lucy Gray Baird, through The Games.

When we meet the handsome Coriolanus he is an ambitious but kind family-orientated young man who wants to progress in the game while also helping the enigmatic and beautiful Lucy Gray. It is clear from the start that the two are very much attracted to each other.

The gruesome Games then ensue as our star-crossed lovers battle to get Lucy Gray to the end and still in one piece.

I won’t spoil it by saying what happens but those who know the films will be fully aware that this is a villain background story – 65 years later, after all, Coriolanus is the tyrant president of Panem.

I don’t think the leap from gentle, loving soul to despicable killer is handled that well though– it’s very hard to believe that someone so pleasant can turn so hard-hearted so quickly.

The characters of Coriolanus and Lucy Gray are quite one-dimensional too. But the two-and-a-half hours certainly don’t drag and there are enough unanswered questions at the end to demand a follow-up. Which I am sure there will be.

Rating: 7/10

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