The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
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IMDb: 6.9
In the future, ecological disasters and global  conflict collapse modern civilization and cause   North America to become the country of Panem. It  consists of a federal district called the Capitol,   where the fancy people live, and thirteen outlying  districts, which are expected to provide economic   and material services. The Capitol behaves cruelly  toward the districts, so one day a civil war known   as the First Rebellion led by District 13 breaks  out. After three years of conflict, the rebellion   unfortunately collapses with the destruction of  District 13, followed by a time known as "the Dark   Days". During these days, two upper-class kids are  running through the deserted streets as they try   to find something to eat. Suddenly they’re found  by a wild dog, so the boy throws something at   it to distract it while they run away. They hide  behind a statue and watch how a man starts cutting   up a body so he can eat the meat. Afterward  the kids return home to their grandmother,   who has bad news: the boy’s father has been killed  by rebels in District 12. Three years later,   the Dark Days are over when the Capitol creates  the Treaty of Treason to ensure peace. Part   of the treaty includes annually celebrating the  “Hunger Games”, a brutal competition during which   two teens from each district must kill each other.  This is to remind the districts that the Dark Days   can’t be repeated. Ten years after the treaty  is created, the boy Coriolanus lives with his   grandmother and the other kid, who is his cousin  Tigris. Unfortunately the family status has fallen   into decline after losing their factory during  the war and now they live in poverty, but they   try to keep appearances not to be kicked out of  the Capitol. Coriolanus has been studying hard at   the academy in hopes of winning a scholarship for  the university, which would save him from having   to get a menial job. When the tenth Hunger Games  are about to start, Coriolanus joins the mentor   program, which means assisting one of the tributes  from the districts. Head Gamemaker Gaul arrives   to introduce Dean Casca, the man who created the  games and is a serious addict. Since viewership   on the games has been going down, Casca wants  the mentors to focus on having their tributes   entertain the audience rather than win. Now the  scholarship prize won’t be decided by best grades   anymore, it’ll be given to the best mentor. Then  they watch the Reaping ceremony on big screens,   showing how a girl and a boy are chosen from  each district. As each chosen face appears, Casca   assigns them to a student, and Coriolanus is upset  to hear he’ll get the girl from District 12. It’s   known that the lower districts are the poorest, so  they usually die quickly in the games. The chosen   girl happens to be Lucy, who is making her way  to the stage and pauses to put a snake down the   blouse of Mayfair for making fun of her. When she  reaches the stage, the mayor hits her for harming   his daughter and the guards known as Peacekeepers  have to take him away. The public begins singing a   song to support Lucy, so she stands up and sings  along as a fact of defiance. Everyone laughs   when she adds an insult at the end, so Coriolanus  starts to see she has potential. Sometime later,   all the tributes are brought to the Capitol  by train and Coriolanus welcomes Lucy with a   flower to start gaining her trust, but Lucy isn’t  impressed and eats a petal. Another tribute is   causing some trouble and the guards get distracted  on a chase, so Coriolanus uses the chance to get   in the truck that will take the tributes to their  quarters. The group doesn’t like seeing a fancy   guy and Reaper threatens to kill him, which the  others agree with. However Lucy stops them by   pointing out they’ll be executed if they do so.  Suddenly the truck stops and opens the doors to   throw the group into a cage. It turns out the  tributes are put in a zoo so visitors can look   at them as if they were exotic animals. A reporter  notices that Coriolanus is among them and asks for   an interview, so he comes forward with Lucy  to make a good presentation. Lucy charms the   children and explains that she isn’t originally  from District 12, she’s from a nomadic group   that got stuck in that district after the war.  Coriolanus is also very charming to the camera,   but soon the Peacekeepers come to take him  away. Before he leaves, Lucy asks him to get   them some food because some of them haven’t been  fed for days. Later at the academy, Casca scolds   Coriolanus for what he did since it’s against  the rules, but Gaul thinks it was a very smart   performance. His best friend Sejanus uses the  chance to complain about the games being immoral   and how they don’t see the tributes as people,  so Coriolanus comes up with an idea. They should   let the public know the tributes before the games,  that way they’ll care more about watching the show   because they’ll have someone to root for, maybe  they could even start letting people bet on them   too. Gaul tells him to make a written proposal for  it. After class, Coriolanus and Sejanus bring food   to the tributes in the zoo. Sejanus’ tribute  Marcus is wary and doesn’t accept it, but Lucy   does take the offering from Coriolanus. He doesn’t  like the fact she shares it with others, but they   still get to chat and bond. Nearby a tribute  is being taunted by her mentor with some water,   so she takes the bottle from her and uses it to  stab the mentor’s throat. Everyone runs away in   fear but Coriolanus rushes to her classmate’s  side, watching her die before the Peacemakers   take him away and shoot the tribute to death. The  next day, Coriolanus hands in his proposal, which   includes the idea of viewers being able to send  supplies to the tributes via donations. During   class, Casca announces that in the evening, there  will be a televised presentation of the tributes,   so he gives the mentors an hour with them to  discuss strategies. Casca wants Lucy to sing   to win people over, so she asks him for a guitar.  Afterward Coriolanus is called to Gaul’s office,   and his classmate Clemensia comes along because  they’re class partners. Gaul’s office is full of   mutated animals in jars, and she introduces them  to a tank of special rainbow snakes she’s been   breeding. Clemensia tries to claim credit for  the whole proposal and Gaul reveals it’s fallen   inside the tank, so she asks her to retrieve it.  These snakes won’t attack someone if they’re used   to their smell, but since the paper doesn’t have  Clemensia’s scent, the snakes bite her as soon as   she puts her hand inside. While the assistants  provide an antidote, Gaul tells Coriolanus she   approves his proposal. Sometime later, the mentors  and the tributes are given fifteen minutes inside   a huge dome which will be the arena for the games.  Suddenly multiple explosions begin blowing up   the walls around them and soon the ceiling is  destroyed as well, so debris starts falling.   Many people get killed while some tributes try  to use the chance to escape, but Coriolanus gets   trapped under the debris. Thankfully Lucy comes  back and frees him as his jacket catches on fire,   but then the Peacekeepers take her away and  Coriolanus faints. He later wakes up in the   hospital with Sejanu and Tigris by his side. They  explain it was a rebel bombing, which killed four   tributes and put a mentor on life support. Marcus  has escaped and the Peacekeepers are chasing him,   but Sejanu thinks he’s safer that way. At that  moment the tribute presentation starts on TV   and Coriolanus gets to see Lucy sing a beautiful  song with her guitar, which makes lots of viewers   cry. Afterward, Coriolanus goes to the destroyed  dome to understand the layout for future plans,   and he discovers a few hidden tunnels. When  he returns home, he sees a dead rat in the   house and realizes the poison they use is pretty  strong, so he takes some of it and hides it in his   dead mother’s compact mirror. Then he goes to the  zoo and tells Lucy about all the potential hiding   places in the dome and gives her the mirror. He  swears he wants her to survive and Lucy cries as   she tries to kiss him, but he moves his lips away  as he cleans her face with his handkerchief. The   next day the remaining tributes are taken to the  arena while the mentors gather at the academy with   Casca and the show host, who has an envelope with  his prediction of the winner. As the Peacekeepers   push the tributes to their starting spots, they  discover Marcus has been caught and is now hanging   on the dome as a warning. This causes Sejanus  to snap, and he calls everyone “monsters” before   leaving the academy. After a countdown, the games  finally begin, and the tributes run all over the   place. Some of them try to stay safe, but others  immediately start attacking each other. While one   of his classmates pukes at the sight of so much  violence, Coriolanus wishes Lucy would run and   hide, but she stays to find Jessup, her fellow  District 12 tribute. As players die one by one,   their mentors leave the academy in a huff. Lucy  does her best to dodge all the incoming attacks   and when she sees Jessup she tries to run to  him, but she keeps getting her way blocked by   attackers. Thankfully she dodges those too and  she reaches Jessup, who is looking rather sick   because he was beaten by a bat on their way to  the Capitol. Lucy immediately takes him into   one of the tunnels, where there are cameras too.  Soon more tributes come down to chase after them,   so the duo sneaks through a hole in a locked door.  A tribute reaches inside to grab Jessup’s leg,   but at that moment, more tributes show up in  the corridor and kill the ones already there,   including the one in the hole. Then the attackers  consider getting into the hole too, but they’re   worried Lucy may kill them so they go back to the  main area. For a few hours nothing happens as the   tributes hide to make a plan, and some people  in the academy are even falling asleep while the   host starts telling the weather. Suddenly Lamina  comes out to check on Marcus, who is still alive   and asks for mercy. Using an axe, Lamina kills  him, which earns her some donations. Her mentor   sends her a bottle of water, but the drone crashes  and the bottle breaks in front of her. That night,   vultures come down to feed on the bodies in the  arena. While Coriolanus watches the screens,   Casca comes to tell him he’ll do anything to  prevent him from winning, so he better act   fast. In the tunnel, Lucy finds some running  water and tries to give it to Jessup, but he   doesn’t trust it and turns it down. A few hours  later, Coriolanus is suddenly awoken by Gaul,   who wants him to do something about Sejanus. It  turns out he’s sneaked into the arena to mourn   Marcus following the traditions of his district.  Gaul refuses to send Peacekeepers because it’d   just prove the rebels right and promises that  if Coriolanus does this favor for her, she’ll   get him the prize. Coriolanus immediately goes  into the arena and after dodging a few bodies,   he reaches Marcus. He explains that Gaul has cut  the feed so nobody is seeing Sejanus’ gesture,   and if someone kills him here Gaul will just tell  the public that Sejanus died from an illness.   Before Sejanus can decide, a tribute shows up and  starts chasing them. The boys run away but when   Sejanus trips, the tribute catches up to them.  Coriolanus defends himself using some debris and   ends up killing the guy. Suddenly more tributes  appear behind them, but this time the duo manages   to reach the gate just in time. Sejanus’ parents  come to pick him up, and now Coriolanus is on   their good side. Afterward Coriolanus goes home  and tells Tigris that he had to kill a person,   admitting that at first he felt awful but then  he felt powerful. The next morning Coriolanus   returns to the academy with Tigris as his guest.  The host tells everyone that another tribute died   while everyone was asleep, but he doesn’t share  who did it, letting the audience believe it was   part of the games. Now only ten tributes remain.  Meanwhile Jessup goes delirious from the bat bite   and tries to attack Lucy, who has to run away from  him. The chase leads them out of the tunnel and as   they begin climbing some debris, the cameras show  Jessup’s face, which makes Coriolanus realize he   has rabies. He asks Jessup’s mentor to send him  some water, so a drone quickly drops the bottle   on him. The glass breaks and startles Jessup,  who falls off and instantly dies. Lucy rushes to   his side to say goodbye, so the other tributes  come out to try to attack her. Thinking fast,   Coriolanus sends more water drones to cause a huge  mess that keeps the attackers distracted while   Lucy escapes with a bottle of her own. Next the  group of tributes goes after Lamina, who has been   staying safe on top of Marcus’ pillar. A fight  ensues and even though Lamina tries to defend   herself, soon she’s killed too. While everyone is  distracted by that fight, Lucy sneaks rat poison   in her water bottle, then she leaves it for the  group while emptying the ones they saved. After   Lamina’s body falls to the ground, Lucy runs away,  hiding in the vents and closing the grate right   before the others can reach her. Afterward the  group argues over the water bottle and a guy gets   killed in the process, so seven tributes remain.  Then the group goes looking for another victim,   so the one that ends up grabbing the bottle is a  small innocent girl, who dies as soon as she takes   a sip. Her friend Reaper comes out and screams  in grief when he sees her while Lucy cries as   she feels guilty. Suddenly Reaper begins gathering  all the bodies and places the Capitol flag over   them before turning to the camera, ready with a  message in favor of rebelling. Unfortunately the   transmission is suddenly interrupted by Gaul, who  has an important announcement: the mentor who was   sent to the hospital by the rebel bombs has died.  That kid had been the president’s son and his   death is a political act, so Gaul will punish the  districts by killing all the remaining tributes   even if means the games won’t have a winner.  Because Gaul mentions she’ll send a “rainbow   of destruction”, Coriolanus guesses she meant  her snakes and gets an idea. While the guards   are taking the snake tank out of Gaul’s office, he  sneaks behind it and throws the handkerchief with   Lucy’s scent inside. In the arena, a tribute finds  Lucy in the vent and starts poking a spear through   the holes in the grate. Lucy quickly backs away  and notices there are other grates right above   a pair of tributes, so she throws down the rat  poison. As one of the guys breathes it and dies,   the other one uses a trident to try to stab  Lucy through the vent. She dodges all the hits,   but eventually the vent takes too much damage  and breaks, causing Lucy to fall. At that moment   Gaul’s tank arrives and breaks open, releasing  thousands of snakes that immediately cover a   young girl. Then they start chasing the tributes,  killing them one by one. Reaper stays on his knees   and accepts his fate while a girl tries to use  her last moments to kill Lucy, but the snakes kill   her too. Soon they start surrounding her without  attacking, and since Lucy starts to sing to them,   Coriolanus tells Gaul that the song is calming the  animals down and Lucy deserves to be declared the   winner. At first Gaul refuses, but soon all the  other mentors begin chanting for her victory,   so Gaul has no choice but to announce Lucy  is the winner. The host tears his envelope,   claiming he had voted for Lucy. Moments  later Coriolanus is taken to see Casca,   who has found the mirror and the handkerchief.  This goes against the rules, so Casca announces   that Coriolanus’ family won’t see any prize  money and he’ll have to work as a Peacekeeper in   the Districts for twenty years. After Coriolanus  gets all the proper testing and his head shaved,   he’s informed he’ll be sent to District 8,  but he bribes the organizer to be sent to   12 instead. During the train trip, he’s shocked  to be joined by Sejanus, who has volunteered to   do this as his punishment so he can start making a  real difference. When they make it to District 12,   the boys are put through a strict training  regime by the Peacekeepers. They also have to   watch how they execute any person who tries  to rebel and take away those who complain,   and Coriolanus has to stop Sejanus from getting  involved. When Coriolanus finally gets a day off,   he goes with the other newbies to the local bar,  where he finds Lucy singing with her people. The   show is interrupted when Lucy’s ex Billy appears  drunk among the crowd. Apparently he cheated on   her with Mayfair, that’s why Lucy had done the  snake prank. When the crowd tries to stop him,   punches are thrown and a fight ensues. Billy gets  on the stage to try to reach Lucy, so Coriolanus   jumps on him to beat him up. Sejanus immediately  drags him out of the bar before they could get in   trouble. The next day, Coriolanus finds Lucy alone  near the woods and they finally kiss. They’ll have   to keep their relationship hidden, so Lucy tells  him about a secret lake where they can meet. From   then on, the couple begins spending lots of  time together by the lake, bonding and having   fun. Coriolanus confesses he wants to go back to  the Capitol one day, but Lucy disagrees, saying   they could build a life here. Sometime later,  Coriolanus is informed that his test results   were exceptional because he’s one of the few who  can read. Since he’s also the son of an important   general, he’ll be transferred to District 2,  where he’ll get better pay. Coriolanus can’t   complain without looking suspicious, and later  when he calls home, Tigris tells him they’ve been   evicted because they couldn’t pay rent. Coriolanus  promises he’ll help them after he gets transferred   to District 2. On his way to work, Coriolanus  sees Sejanus speaking to some of the rebels, so   when they’re alone during bird training, he calls  him out on it. Sejanus gets angry and explains   he’s trying to make a difference by helping  some people escape from Panem. At that moment   Coriolanus remembers the birds they’re handling  were mutated and can record conversations, so he   secretly presses a button to record everything  Sejanus is saying. Afterward that bird is sent   with the others to Gaul’s office. One night at  the bar, Coriolanus finds Sejanus with the rebels,   which includes Mayfair and Billy. The rebels have  lots of weapons that Sejanus didn’t know about,   and he feels betrayed. The situation is tense  and it only gets worse when Lucy joins them,   causing Mayfair to get jealous because Billy  immediately defends her. Mayfair threatens to   tell her father everything, so Coriolanus takes a  weapon and shoots her dead. A furious Billy tries   to attack Coriolanus for revenge, but another  rebel shoots him down. Lucy is having a breakdown,   so Coriolanus tells her to go to the stage and  keep on singing to keep people distracted. Then   Coriolanus asks the rebels to get rid of the  weapons and promises Sejanus he can always   count on him. The next day, the Peacekeepers are  sent to search the entire District and find the   weapons that killed the major’s daughter. During  his search, Coriolanus finds Lucy, who tells him   she wants to leave Panem because everyone  suspects her and she’ll probably be hanged.   Coriolanus decides to leave with her and they  agree to meet the next day at dawn. Afterward,   the Peacekeepers find the rebel who shot Billy and  take him to be executed. During the ceremony, the   guards also bring Sejanus, who has been captured  after they received orders from Gaul thanks to   the birds. Sejanus tries to ask Coriolanus for  help, but he ignores him and has to watch his best   friend be hanged. When Coriolanus returns to their  room, he finds a picture among Sejanus’ things and   he finally breaks down. At dawn, Coriolanus and  Lucy meet and enter the forest to start making   their way out of Panem. It’s quite a long hike  and while chatting, Coriolanus accidentally says   something that makes Lucy realize he was behind  Sejanus’ death. Eventually it starts raining, but   thankfully they find a cabin where they can stay  for a while. Under a loose floorboard, Coriolanus   finds the rebels’ weapons and realizes that if  he gets rid of these, there won’t be any loose   ends. Lucy announces she’s going to pick some  flowers, but hours pass and she doesn’t come back.   Coriolanus goes looking for her with a weapon in  hand, but Lucy is nowhere to be found. Suddenly he   finds her shawl in the woods and tries to pick it  up, only to get bitten by a snake. Realizing Lucy   has abandoned him, Coriolanus throws a tantrum  until he sees someone moving among the trees.   He immediately opens fire, but when he approaches  the spot there’s no body, only Lucy’s bracelet.   Coriolanus continues to look for her and hears her  sing, which causes all the birds in the forest to   start singing too. Losing control, Coriolanus  begins to wildly fire into the air until he   runs out of bullets. When he finally gives up, he  throws the weapons into the lake and returns to   headquarters. Moments later, Coriolanus gets ready  to be transferred to District 2, but his commander   tells him there has been a change of plans: he’ll  be sent back to the Capitol since he has received   a spot at the university as a gift from Sejanus’s  parents. At the Capitol, Coriolanus immediately   gets his family a nice home and new clothes, then  he goes to see Casca to drop Sejanus’ things and   thank him for showing him how the real world  works. Casca explains that he came up with the   idea for the games while he was drinking with  his best friend, who was Coriolanus’s father.   He never planned to present it to the higher-ups,  but Coriolanus’ father stole the idea and made it   happen under both their names. He also explains  Lucy’s body hasn’t been found, so nobody knows   if she’s survived or not. After Coriolanus leaves,  Casca takes a drink, only to die because he’s been   poisoned by Coriolanus. Afterward Coriolanus  meets with Gaul to start his training as   the new Gamemaker. Eventually he’ll grow into  President Snow, the bad guy from Katniss’ story.
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