The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes, prequel to Suzanne Collins’ YA dystopian series, is set 64 years before the original Hunger Games and centres on the young life of antagonist President Snow. The adaptation of the book, starring Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth, will be released in cinemas on 17th November.
It seems from the trailer that the adaptation achieves the book’s overall tone. What it does well is portray the stark, and somewhat disturbing, contrast between the scenes of violence of the games, and the grandiosity of Snow’s perspective from the Capitol. The cut from the image of children being forcibly tipped out of a trailer into the zoo, to the brighter image of Cornelius and Tigris walking in the Capitol in elegant clothing, sums up the dynamics of the Hunger Games franchise as a whole.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film will be the characterisation of Cornelius Snow – will the adaptation manage to preserve the objective villainy of the central character whilst portraying his origin story? I think the book just about achieved this, and I have high hopes for the movie to do the same.
The trailer seems to draw primarily from Snow’s positive moments: we see him rebelling against the Capitol to meet Lucy Gray; we see traces of concern and fear. And we also see him very clearly in love. This all sets up a characterisation in stark opposition to the Snow we think we know.
However, the voiceover from older, President Snow at the end of the trailer, saying “It’s the things we love most, that destroy us”, brings back the voice of the well-established villain and reminds us that we all know how this story ends.
Expectations are high for this latest addition to the Hunger Games series. Needless to say, I will be among the many flocking to the cinemas on the 17th to see how the prequel holds up on the big screen.