Suzanne Collins’ 200 latest young adult novel of dystopian Pst-War nation Panem is brought to the silver screen again by Francis Lawrence a prequel. That may make some viewers and fans think of Star Wars and the infancy of its initial trilogy.
But Lawrence doesn’t make The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes rig with much venomous allure. Not nearly close when he really brought urgency to the first set of films with Catching Fire.
Not the central focus is the rise of Coriolanus Snow, a scholarly blonde, go-getter in Tom Blyth as mentor to Rachel Zegler’s Lucy Gray from District 12 (same as Katniss Everdeen). All leading up to the 10th installment of the titular (battle Royale competition featuring tributes).
From a screenplay by Michael Leslie and Michael Arndt Little Miss Sunshine) the protracted film struggles to hit its stride the way the original films did though Jennifer Lawrence’s mercurial, though grieved Katniss. The attention on the young Coriolanus 64 years before Donald Sutherland’s suavely exerted his shifty sister qualities may provide a decent platform for Blyth in attempting to repair his family’s name with the notion of celebrity as a way to reverse floundering ratings.
The wood-building from a little Art Deco doesn’t stand out as much as the stylish costuming and of course the names in what isn’t that insightful as rote and obvious. Even after the usual meet cute Blyth and Zegler offer some interest in their relationship (with her rainbow colored outfits and southern grooming as in The Hanging Tree.
Support comes from Peter Dinklage as creator Casca Highbottom who has a mysterious grudge against the Snow clan, Viola Davis’ games master Volume Gaul with giant silver afro, one blue eye and lots of makeup as well as retro-like host Lucretious “Lucky” Fickerman done with a bid of dark glint by Jason Schwatzman. It’s just not the beginning at lest to a thrilling new series.