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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

Picture this: it’s 2012 and you’re a nerdy 10-year-old girl who loves movies and is obsessed with sci-fi. Suddenly, on the scene is this brand new movie that everyone is raving about and swears that it’s groundbreaking to the world of cinema. You finally get the chance to watch it, and without exaggerating, it changes your entire life; all you want to do is practice the perfect side braid, date a boy named after a piece of bread, and pick up the sport of archery. If you haven’t caught on, I’m relaying the headspace I was in when I was blessed to watch The Hunger Games for the first time as a kid. Now, as a 21-year-old college student, when I initially heard that there was going to be a prequel movie coming out to the revolutionary 4-part saga of The Hunger Games, I just knew that I was going to be transported back to when I would spend summer nights in my friends’ basements. Rewatching and dissecting every line spoken, swivel of the camera, and each hidden glance during our perpetual Hunger Games rewatches. The new prequel movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, was newly released to theaters and has already risen to the top of the box office. 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows the main antagonist of the original series, President Coriolanus Snow, as a young adult in what would become his rise to power and corruption, as well as his relationship with the eventual winner of the 10th Hunger Games, Lucy Gray Baird. The runtime is 2 hours and 38 minutes, which is split up into 3 parts, each with its own rise, climax, and resolution. I find that this film is a great addition to the beloved THG series, and gives the audience insight into how the games were founded, as well as a deeper understanding of the cruel tyrannical dictator that we know Snow to be in the present day.

With multiple musical performances by Lucy Gray, portrayed by Rachel Zegler, viewers get to be put into the shoes of someone living in District 12 that must power through the Games to survive. Zegler and her co-star, Tom Blyth, who portrayed President Snow, share incredible chemistry and truly bring to life the scenes that were crafted by author Suzanne Collins. Ever since I watched the film on opening night, I have not been able to stop thinking about it; the endless mysteries that entangle each character, the seamless world-building, the intense double climax of the Games and Snow’s character being unveiled, it all amounts to a really special viewing experience for any Hunger Games fan (along with the bonus of seeing Tom Blyth with a buzzcut). The film highlights a truly star-studded cast featuring Viola Davis, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage, and Hunter Schafer just to name a few.

Even if you’ve read all the books or are brand new to the series, I would highly recommend going out to theaters and watching The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. After about 11 years since the original movie came out, it feels like a very momentous point in time for Hunger Games fans to see such a deeply cherished series be reintroduced to a whole new generation. Being able to revisit the HGCU (Hunger Games Cinematic Universe, of course) brings me right back to being that 10-year-old girl falling back in love with a great story once again.

Mel is a senior Marketing major with a Graphic Design minor, as well as member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. She loves studying runway, eating copious amounts of sugar, and can always be seen rewatching Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time. She is currently HCTCNJ's President.