Okja (2017)
July 22, 2017 10:30 AM - Subscribe

Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend - a fascinating animal named Okja.

For 10 idyllic years, young Mija has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja - a massive animal and an even bigger friend-at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when a family-owned multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where image obsessed and self-promoting CEO Lucy Mirando has big plans for Mija's dearest friend. With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission, but her already daunting journey quickly becomes more complicated when she crosses paths with disparate groups of capitalists, demonstrators and consumers, each battling to control the fate of Okja...while all Mija wants to do is bring her friend home.
posted by jazon (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
FanFare Talk Thread.
posted by jazon at 10:31 AM on July 22, 2017

I really liked this movie but when we discover that the grandfather never told Mija what is going to happen to Okja, I couldn't help think, what an asshole.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not a huge fan of Bong Joon Ho, but I watched it because I love Tilda and Jake. It was what I expected it to be: completely bonkers. Ahn Seo Hyun was great and heartbreaking in her devotion to Okja. The rape scene left a really bad taste in my mouth, though. The abattoir scenes were dark, but also honest. The assault was just gratuitous.

I would love to see Steven Yuen do comedy next, he was great in the translation scene in the truck!
posted by Rora at 10:28 AM on July 23, 2017

I really liked this movie but when we discover that the grandfather never told Mija what is going to happen to Okja, I couldn't help think, what an asshole.

This made sense to me from the perspective that they are literally dirt poor, and I assume this is probably common practice on farms.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:09 PM on July 23, 2017

It was a fascinatingly weird film, and reminded me of his earlier work in the The Host. The movie careened between kids adventure movie and comedy and horror. The movie gets remarkably dark, which makes it hard to recommend to people.

Tilda is such a wonderful actress.
posted by graventy at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I didn't like this movie much at all.

Here's a good short video review of it by someone who did, though!
posted by fleacircus at 10:18 PM on July 26, 2017

I thought it was a really great film, but yeah I dunno if i could really recommend it to anyone who has even a slightly weaker stomach than i do.

I expected to tear up, but I didn't, and I think it was 'cause I kept expecting it. Although I came pretty damn close when they rescued the baby super pig and she looked back at the parents still trapped.
posted by numaner at 8:23 AM on July 28, 2017

This was a really weirdly inconsistent movie! It was a lot of fun and really charming up until the end of the first chase, in the tunnel, and then it sort of didn’t seem to know what it wanted to do. There’s no clear sense of character development or progression at any point — there isn’t really any sort of sense of a lesson learned when everyone goes back home.

Other thoughts:

• That one ALF guy looked like if Christian Bale were playing John Hodgman as And I’m a PC

• The golden pig, aside from being baffling (is it hollow? People pick it up with no difficulty despite its size. Also, why is Tilda Swinton’s first instinct to bite it? Is she teething?), could scarcely have been a more obvious Chekhov’s Gun. Weird how it wasn’t in a narratively satisfying way, but more a “BLUE KEY unlocks BLUE DOOR” sense.

• Speaking of bizarre payoffs, this movie has a really strange sense of setups. What was with the lingering shot of the pointed spear thing under the balloon? Nothing ever came of that. Also, the sister/twin thing felt like it just came out of nowhere, for no especially good reason.

• Boy howdy was some of the English dialogue unnatural sounding. It would be a lot more forgivable if “translations are sacred” weren’t literally a thing a guy gets tattooed on his arm in the movie. A fair bit of the acting had that sort of “we’ll just work with whatever foreign actors we can find here in Asia” feel that is pretty common in Japan, but wasn't this shot mainly in North America anyway?

• The CGI was stunningly well done. Like, generally crossed into full believability.

Overall, it’s hard to recommend because for about thirty minutes it’s kind of a fun family-friendly romp and then for about ninety minutes it’s angling for an R rating? Oh also nobody learns a lesson, and everything basically just goes back to normal, the end.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:20 AM on July 16, 2018

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