Is The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie safe for kids? Is The Hunger Games prequel OK for children? Read the The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parents guide and mom review of the all-new The Hunger Games 2023 prequel film from Lionsgate, starring Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth and Viola Davis. No spoilers! #TheHungerGames May contain commissioned links.
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents Guide to The Hunger Games 2023 Prequel Film
A prequel that lives up to hype of The Hunger Games franchise? Or a past worth forgetting?
No one can argue that The Hunger Games franchise has captivated fans for years through blood, sweat, tears, love, loss, and that gray area between good and evil. With 4 overall worthy fiction-to-movie adaptations in the books (yes, all puns intended), fans keep coming back, craving for more.
In The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m breaking down the visuals, the story, a full PG-13 age rating explanation for violence, adult themes and language, and what kids’ age recommendation is suggested to watch in this new The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 2023 parents guide to the new Lionsgate prequel film.
But has Snow fallen on Panem once again? Or will fans turn against this book-to-movie adaptation?
Visually, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a balance of color and lightness and heavy, old world. There are visual hints of the old Hunger Games movies and a flair for style (Victorian meets technology – sounds familiar?). I was surprised to see this movie heavily influenced by Loki series feels – 1970s vibe at times with décor and set design choices. Nevertheless, beautiful costuming, steampunk nods and political turmoil – it all fits The Hunger Games narrative in this prequel.
Photosensitivity Warning. For viewers prone to epilepsy and photosensitivity, there is only one particular scene that may be triggering for some. Be prepared for a mid-movie flashes of bright lights and spinning camera movements that may induce dizziness. Otherwise, a pretty straight forward film for Hunger Games fans.
Based on book series by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is yet another book to film adaptation of the famous franchise, this time as a prequel. Directed by returning Francis Lawrence (“Constantine” and the last 4 of 5 “The Hunger Games” films), and starring Rachel Zegler (“West Side Story” 2021) as Lucy Gray Baird, Tom Blyth (“Billy the Kid“) as Coriolanus Snow, Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones“) as Casca Highbottom and Viola Davis (“The Help“) as Dr. Volumnia Gaul.
Taking place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem, this Hunger Games prequel film dives into the 10th Hunger Games, with all eyes on Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. Teaming up with young 18-year old Snow – questions are answered about the beginning history of Panem, the games, and President Snow’s past.
Warning. If you have NOT seen the first four Hunger Games movies, I highly encourage you to watch those first. Most of the content, character depictions, and scene setting for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be confusing at best without understanding where this prequel is coming from and the roots of the first 3 books.
If this movie feels long to you, you’re not alone. With a runtime of almost 3 hours, there are definitely times when I looked at my watch. Even Hunger Games fandom may feel time slipping. Editing this film was definitely NOT the strong suit here as the story feels disjointed at times.
Bringing the mind and thoughts of Snow in book form to life on screen is definitely a challenge. But some of the scenes feel as chaotic as the games. But Hunger Games Easter Eggs, nods to the book, and behind-the-scenes insight into Snow’s history – I’m sure that the fans can overlook a few flaws for the entertainment factor.
With Rachel Zegler’s beautiful voice on board, I get the need for staying true to the book’s song lyrics. But seriously, some of those songs could have been cut shorter. By song eleven-ty seven, I was ready to “end” this songbird. But let me say this, the diversity and inclusion efforts in this film will bring you to tears.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes PG-13 Rating Explained
Is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes safe for kids? Is Lionsgate giving audiences another round of a violent and bloody Hunger Games book to film adaptation? Should parents be concerned? It’s no secret that I am highly skeptical of all MPAA ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). And as we know, not all movie and TV age ratings are the same. As a parent, it’s been rather heartbreaking to witness how ratings have shifted over the years with a G-rating no longer an option.
PG ratings now oscillating between Turning Red intense to Christopher Robin calm, and even PG-13/TV-14 age ratings teetering on the edge of R or MA ratings (Moon Knight and Werewolf by Night, I see you!), there’s a wide range between the age of 0-14 years old for parents to consider. Having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie or show is kid friendly – and safe for the whole family to watch together.
Why is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes rated PG-13? In this The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games 2023 prequel film is rated PG-13 for “strong violent content and disturbing material.” With film and TV ratings also unpredictable these days, having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie or television show like The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is kid friendly.
Is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes too scary for kids? Is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes too intense for kids? Too violent? Let’s breakdown that PG-13 age rating in this The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes parents guide.
Violence/Suspense. This is a Hunger Games prequel. Be prepared for multiple violent and disturbing images, including close ups of human impalements, gruesome deaths involving weapons and other sharp objects, gun shots, blood pools, open wounds, inferred killings, chokings, animal attacks, vomiting, foaming at the mouth, animal deaths, animal cruelty depictions, hangings, hand-to-hand combat and violence towards children. There are multiple intense scenes with possible jump scares and suspense.
Overall, if your kids have seen the first 4 Hunger Games films, the violence should be pretty similar. But the animal depiction while not quite as intense and emotive as say Guardians 3, could be disturbing for sensitive kids to watch. Also, human hangings and Hunger Games-like violence towards kids who look very young could be traumatic.
Adult Themes. Consumption of alcohol is present, including holding a cocktail in hand, scenes at a bar, and consuming liquor from glasses and a bottle. There is discussion about being “drunk” and one scene depicting a drunk man. There is discussion about betting, ingestion of liquid drugs and ingestion of poison.
Romantic and sensual content include holding hands, one moderate kissing scene, a few shirtless male scenes and a few scenes depicted of men and women in underwear (not for sexual content, per se).
Grief, death and loss are also themes in this film. There is brief discussion of “suicide.”
Language. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes did NOT disclose any language in this film. However, we do find one swear word of note. Foul language includes one use of “kiss my @ss.” I was shocked to see this NOT disclosed by the MPAA.
Milder insults and bad language phrases include “stupid,” “shut up,” “piss,” and “inbred.”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Age Rating for Kids
At a runtime of 157 minutes (that’s a whopping 2 hours 37 minutes!), this Hunger Games 2023 film already has me squirming in my theater seat. Even with packed in action, story, and singing – I found myself even glancing at my watch. Add in heavy violence and dialogue, this Hunger Games prequel feels long for an adult. I can only imagine how much longer this will feel for kids.
The Hunger Games 2023 prequel film, taking place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, is most similar to The Hunger Games films franchise including the original 2012 film release, 2013 Catching Fire sequel, and the 2014 Mockingjay – Part 1 and 2015 Mockingjay – Part 2 sequels.
Lionsgate’s 2023 The Hunger Games prequel film is rated PG-13 for “strong violent content and disturbing material” by the MPAA.
No, there is no post-credits scene in this Hunger Games prequel film. Feel free to leave as soon as the credits start.
Based on my The Hunger Games 2023 parents guide and mom review above, this parent movie reviewer would not recommend The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie to kids younger than the age of 13-14 years old.
Considering the full TV-14 rating breakdown above, this parent movie reviewer would not recommend The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie to kids younger than the age of 13-14 years old. The Hunger Games 2023 PG-13 age rating is pretty spot on and easily comparable to The Hunger Games movie franchise ratings.
With intense violence, blood, gore and suspense, this more teen friendly rating is well earned, teetering close to the R rating for disturbing images and battle scenes (see above). I recommend parents to prescreen The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie for strong violence, graphic gore and blood, animal death and cruelty, and adult content.
The Hunger Games fandom can be intoxicating. Fight or flight, human instinct, survival – it’s amazing what the human body can and will do to survive. But for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, it felt long, a little too true to the book, and music heavy for an action film.
However, the lore of Coriolanus Snow’s past, his trauma, his mind – it’s heavy and intriguing. And for all of the movie’s faults, everything can easily be overlooked by the shining spotlight of the franchise as a whole. But even though the poison took a long time to seep in for this prequel, in the end Snow lands on top. Not a perfect Snow white (get the pun) success by any means, but pearly enough.
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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, the all-new 2023 Hunger Games prequel film from Lionsgate premieres in theaters starting Friday November 17, 2023. Will your family be watching?
I was invited to screen the new 2023 Lionsgate The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Hunger Games prequel film in exchange for this The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents Guide. All photos courtesy of Lionsgate. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!