A tall blonde man (L) hands a white rose to a short brunette (R)

Hazel and Katniss and Harry and Starr Podcast: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The logo for Hazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr podcast: an orange box with the words written in white fontHazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr is a weekly Canadian podcast about young adult literature, their film and television adaptations, and everything in between. Now in its sixth season, the podcast—hosted by film critic Joe Lipsett and English professor Brenna Clarke-Gray—aims to highlight the cultural worth of young adult and middle-grade texts, with a focus on Canadian, Indigenous and minority creatives and stories.

Join us weekly for deep dives, as well as a round of YA BINGO.

Book 6, Chapter 11: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Brenna and Joe return to Panem for The Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, directed by franchise regular Francis Lawrence.

While Joe struggles with the transition from Part 2 to 3, Brenna is unconvinced by lead actor Tom Blyth or the romance between Snow and Lucy Gray.

We do, however, have plenty of praise for Viola Davis, Hunter Schafer and Jason Schwartzman, as well as the costume design and the dystopian politics.

Perhaps it simply needed to be a (mini)series instead of a 2-hour 40-minute movie?

Read on for more about this week’s episode from co-host Joe Lipsett:

Brenna and I have now covered The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2 so it makes sense to tackle the prequel (Read Mel Valentin’s review of the film)

There were always going to be challenges adapting Suzanne Collins’ source material, which feels a bit like two books in one (listen to our discussion of the book here). The increased focus on the politics surrounding the games, rather than the games themselves, certainly works. It’s just wild that these massive Hollywood blockbusters still feel the need to shoehorn in unconvincing love stories into the narrative.


Or that the FX work on certain parts of a $100M film don’t look better than the film it’s referencing from nearly ten years ago! –JL

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