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Movies & TV

31st May 2024

Prime Video has just added one of 2023’s biggest movies

Stephen Porzio

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It has an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Last week, we highlighted how Prime Video had added the first four Hunger Games movies to its streaming service and now it has gone ahead and added the fifth – 2023’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

A prequel to the other four films in the hit dystopian action franchise based on Suzanne Collins’ novels – in which a small group of young people are selected to fight to the death for the masses’ entertainment – Songbirds & Snakes is set over 60 years before the events of the original.

It centres around a younger version of the character of Coriolanus Snow (previously played by Donald Sutherland, here played by Tom Blyth) decades before he would go onto become the tyrannical president of the fictional state of Panem.

The plot synopsis for the prequel reads: “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes follows a young Coriolanus who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol.

“With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler, West Side Story), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates.

“With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favour. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.”

Also featured in the cast alongside Blyth and Zegler are Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan (Lost), as well as Hunter Schafer (Euphoria), Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Viola Davis (Widows).

Released in Irish cinemas just last November, Songbirds & Snakes was a box office hit and was for the most part favourably received by critics and audiences alike.

Some reviewers even argued the movie is the best entry in the entire franchise, while the film also currently holds an impressive 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here is a sample of some of the glowing write-ups the blockbuster earned from critics:

Indiewire: “The biggest reason why this movie sings is because Rachel Zegler is in it as Lucy Gray Baird.”

Observer (UK): “Viola Davis’s deranged games designer Dr Volumnia Gaul and Jason Schwartzman’s showboating compere Lucky Flickerman justify the price of admission.”

USA Today: “Imagine if The Phantom Menace was better than every episode of George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy.”

Variety: “Feels like a natural extension of the saga, balancing bloodsport, endangered young love and a heightened level of political commentary that respects the intelligence of young audiences as only Collins can.”

Vox: “Remarkably, Songbirds & Snakes has found a way to make the Hunger Games feel new and sharp.”

All five Hunger Games movies – including The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – are streaming on Prime Video in Ireland and the UK right now.

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