Why Everybody’s Talking About Okja
It’s not just the super pig we love
Blockbuster movies have a tried and tested formula; things explode, there’s romance involved and the lead characters are always universally likeable. And while there’s really nothing wrong with these movies, they become predictable and sometimes, boring. But Okja, an action-adventure film directed by Bong Joon-ho, attempts to do something different. For one, it features a creature we have never seen before; Okja is a super pig that director Bong Joon-ho describes as a “very shy and introverted animal,” but nonetheless unique. And as adorable as Okja is, there are other reasons why this film is such a hit among many.
The plot is both heartwarming and heartbreaking
The story follows the adventure of a country girl Mija who lives in the countryside of South Korea with her grandfather and their super pig Okja. They, along with other families from different parts of the world, have been tasked to care for this special kind of animal bred by Mirando Corporation. Among the 26 pigs, only one will be crowned the best super pig.
10 years later, Mirando Corporation declares Okja as the winner and takes her to New York City, where its image-obsessed and self-promoting CEO has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend. Naturally, our young heroine sets out on a rescue mission with nothing but a fanny pack filled with loose change and pig feed, and a single-minded intent to bring Okja back home.
The cast is incredible and unexpected
Okja features a South Korean female lead, Seo-Hyeon An, and an unexpected support cast of English-speaking actors—Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Paul Dano and many others. Oh and if you’re a fan of the Walking Dead, you’ll be happy to know that Steve Yeun is part of the incredible cast, too.
Tilda Swinton beloved for her character roles slays as both Lucy and Nancy of Mirando Corporation, and personifies weird and evil all at the same time. Meanwhile, Jake Gyllenhaal takes on the kooky role of zoologist and TV personality Dr. Johnny Wilcox. The rest? You’ll have to see the film for yourself to find out.
The themes are refreshing
Okja is more of a sweet coming-of-age story than an action film. We love that it centers on the friendship between a young girl and her super pig while casually touching on environmental issues, neoliberalism and exposing truths about large corporations. It sounds like a dizzying hodgepodge of everything but TBH, Bong Joon-ho succeeds in simplifying a story that’s actually so compelling that it feels like Okja is the friend we’ve always had.
Okja is adorable and the true star of the show
We’re taking it back to the true star of the movie, Okja. The digitally made and Mirando engineered Okja is as big as a medium-sized elephant and has the facial features of a canine more than a pig. #Trust, it all works out and you’ll find Okja even more adorable as the film progresses. But most importantly what viewers will love most is that Okja is a reminder of our most loyal, gentlest and bravest non-human companions.
It’s a movie best enjoyed with friends, human or otherwise.
Stream it now on Netflix.