Yes! Finally I got a chance to sit down and watch this Netflix original movie called Okja. If you’ve read my previous review of The Host you would know that this has been on my list of films to check out for some time. As far as I’m concerned I have grown to learn that this director can pretty much do no wrong. If you are skeptical just mosey on down to Rotten Tomatoes, type up Bong Joon-ho into the search bar, and prepare yourself to be amazed.
Apparently the guy seriously knows how to please the critics and audiences alike. It’s pretty crazy how well his movies have been received thus far. Even that much more amazing once you realize he doesn’t typically just direct but also writes the films he works on himself too. 😮 The guy is the real deal .
Which brings me to this latest movie of his and what we all wanna know. Was it any good? Did it live up to the hype? Could it even…Fortunately I’m happy to report that it is indeed yet another solid entry into his filmography. 👍 Yes you can breathe out a sigh of relief. Now I won’t go as far to say that I think it’s his best work to date or anything, because honestly it’s not. But I will say it’s pretty high up there for sure.
Much like with his previous films, what you get here is more of the same type of story telling. You get a story with a solid focus on character development and a solid mix of humor thrown in every once and awhile. Things that I typically find myself gravitating towards the most which is why I’m sure that I love so much of his work. 🙂 Here though he has seemingly managed to add at least one new layer of intrigue. You see he has remarkably managed to make a monster movie where the monster isn’t the “bad guy.” Nope, in an interesting turn of events it’s the people themselves that f*ck everything up in this movie.
How so? Well it’s basically because you have two warring factions that are at odds with one another. The Mirando Corporation and ALF(the Animal Liberation Front). One’s goal is to mass produce a type of “superpig,” which Okja herself is, so that they can sell them off as a food source for all of us to eat. O__O Meanwhile the other, ALF, isn’t so keen on letting that happen. It’s from this fundamental disagreement that we get pretty much all the conflict in this movie.
Now I’m sure right about now your first instinct might be to think the the movie will be some heavy-handed propaganda in favor of the “environmentalists.” It seems like a lot of movies go that route these days. However I think what makes this interesting is that instead it doesn’t really let you know who’s exactly right. That’s because we get to see things unfold from the outside perspective of a young farm girl by the name of Mija. And from her perspective both sides do some pretty shady sh*t. Most of the film is carried on her little shoulders as she tries to escape with her friend Okja from both sides.
here’s a trailer:
And before I go further I just remembered there is something else I wanna address quickly.. That is that this movie is labeled as an action-adventure film but it’s not really all that action-y. At most there is like one really good chase sequence with some carfuffles along the way. Really it just feels more intense than what it actually is because the stakes feel real. And they feel real because you deeply care about the relationship between Mija and Okja. That is by far the biggest attribute of this movie.
It takes it’s time early on to build, yes, but in doing so you can’t help but fall for the adorable dynamic the two share. It’s like a bond between a girl and a puppy. Except in this case the puppy just so happens to be over-sized “superpig.” 😛 I swear at points the two of them brought back memories of Clifford the Big Red Dog for me. Don’t know if you are familar with that cartoon but these two reminded me so much of Emily and Clifford. lol It was that level of sweet chemistry that made me root for them ’till the end.
However don’t get it twisted as the film gets going things do start to become more dark. Eventually we get some commentary on big issues like the negative sides of corporatism. While at the same time seeing some of the hypocrisy in a group like ALF, a group that under normal circumstances we would wanna root for.. It makes you realize that both sides could have merits to their beliefs….but unfortunately they can get blinded and overtaken by certain individuals who don’t go about things in a good way.. Both sides are willing to lie and that’s the real problem.
So as you can see there is a lot of good stuff here to sink your teeth into but like with everything there has got to be some negatives too right?
The two that I can think of here is that the comedy CAN get a little over the top at times and so can some of the performances. I have to admit that these things did cause some awkward tonal shifts but by enlarge the comedy did work for me. Mostly I think it’s some of the grandiose performances by the villains that might rub some people the wrong way. For example, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Dr. Johnny.
I have already been seeing some criticisms on his take of the character. All I can say is that it only bothered me at some points. Overall it wasn’t such a big deal for me because I was able to understand the character motivations. Sure some played it up a bit much but I thought the actions themselves made sense and I could see real people nowadays making similar decisions.
So to close this out I say definitely give this a watch if you are a fan of Bong Joon-ho. If you are not, well you can still give it a watch because I think the positives out weigh the negatives and I think you will at least love Okja and Mija’s heartwarming relationship. Plus this is a star studded cast so it may be fun to see if you can pick everyone out. I give it an 8.0/10. Until next time. For now let me know if you plan on ever watching this one. ^_^