The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) 4K Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Aside from an interesting and somewhat original story, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has a wonderful cast that includes younger thespians mixed with seasoned veterans.

September 14, 2008 author Suzanne Collins published the first in a trilogy of young adult novels, titled The Hunger Games.  Almost immediately there were talks of adapting the book into a film and the first movie premiered in March of 2012.  Following its success, the second and third novels were released as three separate movies - Catching Fire, Mockingjay - Part I, and Mockingjay - Part II.  A dozen years after the original novel, a prequel story, entitled The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, was published and work began on the film version.  Last November The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was released worldwide with the home entertainment market release set for this month.  

Every year in the Capitol of Panem a reminder of the uprising is held called The Hunger Games where two children are chosen from each district to travel to the Capitol and fight to the death.  Each "tribute" gets a mentor and among this year's group is Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth; Benediction), the son of a war hero killed in battle during the war.  Favored to become the next gamekeeper, he is paired with a tribute from District 12 named Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler; West Side Story). However, since interest in the games has begun to diminish, this year's mentors are charged with making their tributes more appealing, which Coriolanus does by cheating.  Of course, he is then punished, becomes hardened, and eventually returns to the Capitol and studies how to be a gamekeeper.

Aside from an interesting and somewhat original story,  The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has a wonderful cast that includes younger thespians mixed with seasoned veterans.  Blyth is a terrific, up-and-coming actor who, not only bears a similar appearance to Donald Sutherland (who portrays the older Coriolanus Snow in the first four films) but who displays a range of emotions. Ziegler, as we know from her previous acting roles, has a stunning voice that resonates throughout the film.  Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Viola Davis (Suicide Squad) both give wonderful performances as well.

The Dolby Vision video quality is outstanding throughout the film and at no time do the special effects look fake.  Colors have various shades, like Lucy Gray's dress or the lush fields and woods of District 12, offering the viewer a rich experience.  Details are sharp and lines are clean.

The only thing better than the video presentation is the Dolby Atmos audio quality.  Surround speakers are utilized constantly giving the audio tons of depth and the score has layers and layers of instruments. Dialogue is well mixed and tends to sit mostly in the front speakers except for when someone is shouting from the side or behind the viewer.

The combo pack has the 4K disc, the Blu-ray disc, and a digital download.  There are over an hour of extras offering in-depth insight into the making of the movie.  These extras include: Audio Commentary with Producer-Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson,  "Predator or Prey: Making The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" 8-Part Documentary, Songbirds & Snakes (The Acting Ensemble), Pure as the Driven Snow (The Music of Lucy Gray Baird), A Palette of Tactics (On Location in Poland and Berlin), Humanity Undressed (Costume, Makeup & Hair), To the Victor Go the Spoils (Stunts & Weapons), Inner Sanctum (The Post-Production Process), Snow Lands on Top (Reflections), "The Hanging Tree" Song by Rachel Zegler, A Letter to the Fans, and Theatrical Trailers.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a strong prequel to a very successful franchise that gives audiences a well-thought-out backstory for the villain of the novels. Even though the third act is weak ending the movie with a whimper this 4K combo pack release has great visuals, even better audio, and tons of extras to enjoy.

Grade: B

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 157 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate

Stream from Amazon Prime
Purchase The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes from the iTunes store.
Watch on Apple TV

For more information about The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes images are courtesy of Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


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