Okja is worth watching if:
- You care at all about animals.
- You want a suspenseful adventure starring a convincing child actor, unlike Mowgli.
- You want to experience the emotional gauntlet.
Okja is not worth watching if:
- You can’t read. (Half the characters only speak Korean and require subtitles.)
- You can’t handle seeing gigantic CGI ‘super pig’ abuse.
- You loathe all forms of animal rights advocacy.
- The acting is excellent; from A-list Hollywood actors like Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, to Seo-hyun Ahn, the 13-year-old South Korean actress who plays the lead girl, ‘Mija’.
- It’s an emotional, well-paced story that is also quite funny.
- Mija’s massive super pig ‘Okja’ is impressively animated.
- You don’t get to take home a super pig for watching it.
- It’s too artistic to ever get a sequel.
- Okja, the CGI super pig, looks awesome, but she could look even better.
score: 85% CHILLIN
One sentence story summary: A gentle giant and the girl who raised her are caught in the crossfire between animal activism, corporate greed and scientific ethics.
It’s a decent risk to star a computer-generated character alongside humans in your movie; you just never know how things will pan out. This is doubly true when your lead actor is a 13-year-old girl, who likely lacks experience pretending she has a giant lovable super pig at her side.
The Netflix Original Okja doesn’t just blow those concerns out of the water, it proves to be one of the very best original films available on the platform.
Mirando, a massive multinational corporation, has come up with a devious PR scheme that starts by having a handful of farmers around the world compete to grow the world’s best and biggest “Super Pig”, a mutant breed of pig created by Mirando in its evil lai- *ahem* CORPORATE LAB. (They look a bit more like gigantic hippos.)
After 10 years, the company goes around and retrieves its fully grown hogs to do evil company things, but one young farmer’s daughter in South Korea has grown so attached to her intelligent pig, Okja, that she can’t stand to lose hers and will do whatever it takes to keep her.
The likeable Seo-hyun Ahn does an outstanding job making you feel Okja is real, and when she embarks on a quest to save her giant pig, you are with her every step of the way. Her acting and the excellent directing combine to create a sense of determination and drive that radiates from her in every scene. She is a wrecking ball who will stop at enough until she’s home with Okja in the isolated mountains of South Korea.
The star-studded cast of Hollywood villains working for the Mirando corporation are also great in their eccentric over-the-top roles. Tilda Swinton is perfect as an intense, psychotic CEO and Jake Gyllenhaal is hilarious as the idiot “face of the company”. (Imagine a drugged up, sociopathic Steve Irwin)
The movie has great writing, great directing, great action, and even great stunts. While one may find a few things to nitpick, you can’t find much to dislike.
If you like to watch Netflix Original movies, this one is a must see.