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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

OPINION: The “Hunger Games” prequel seems scared of showing the bestial-herd instinct of society

Gabrielle Caumon / Hilltop Views
This last Thanksgiving, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” prequel even emerged on the big screen. It features Coriolanus Snow’s development, before becoming the oppressive President of Panem everyone is all too familiar with in the original trilogy.

“The Hunger Games” is one of my favorite franchises. It is more than a worldwide cultural phenomenon; it ventures to the darkest side of our society. The author Suzanne Collins hides a portrayal of the selfish instinct all of us have to reach our own success under an entertaining dystopian world accessible to everyone in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

Collins’ created world still has a powerful influence 15 years later. Indeed, over 100 million books have been sold around the globe — translated into 54 languages — and the four adapted films earned more than $3 billion. The Hunger Games sensation goes further, with a remarkably rich fandom that has more than 720 web pages attached to it about the different media entries, the various characters and the dystopian universe as a whole. 

Last Thanksgiving, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” a prequel to the original trilogy, emerged on the big screen. It features Coriolanus Snow’s character development before becoming the oppressive President of Panem everyone is all too familiar with in the first story. 

However, I was very disappointed by this release. I do think the prequel is a good fit for the franchise as a whole, but it just doesn’t stand alone. When I think of the Hunger Games, I associate it with huge carnage, no mercy and a badass Katniss Everdeen as the face of revolution. After rewatching and reading the entire saga, I felt like something was missing in the prequel: where is the rawness, the ferocity and the atrocity of the games? 

The prequel is more centered around individual selfishness rather than society. It is definitely an entertaining story if you watch it during a Hunger Games movie marathon, but by itself, it is less impactful than the original trilogy. I did not step out of it thinking I had seen a game-changing movie.

I was interested to see if I was the only one frustrated, and after surfing on multiple movie resources websites, I noticed that even if this Hunger Games did not convince me, people seemed to approve of it. On Rotten Tomatoes, the prequel earned an 89% audience score, sharing the highest rate of the Hunger Games movies alongside the second movie, Catching Fire (the best one of the saga, in my opinion). 

Stunned by all this hype about “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” I wanted to see if my opinion was influenced by my country of origin, France. Thus, I went on a well-known French movie critics website called Allociné where I recognized my own views among the reviews on this website — “Rachel Zegler, convaincante seulement quand elle chante… ou quand elle ne parle pas, certaines de ses répliques sonnent fausses” (Rachel Zegler, convincing only when she sings… or when she doesn’t speak, some of her lines sound false).

I like it when movies make us think, open up discussions and remain etched in our memories. I like it when directors are unafraid to be controversial and denounce important subjects through their pieces. I am tired of movies that look the same. I want thrill and emotions. The new Hunger Games movie is just another superficial production. I was expecting to find, at least, a dystopian representation of society which hooked me on this franchise to begin with — along with the bestial human instinct that looms during the games. Needless to say, my expectations were not met. 

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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Caumon
Gabrielle Caumon, Staff Writer
Gabrielle Caumon is a junior from Paris, France, who is pursuing a major in the BFA Acting program and a minor in Journalism. This is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and her first as a Staff Writer. She loves writing for the Life & Arts section, and is excited to branch out and try out other genres.

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