Gentle Reader, I am going to do for you here what nobody did for me: I am going to wave you off of Okja because I cannot, in any good conscience, recommend this film to anyone. Watching the trailer, you may expect it to be a beautiful pastoral tale of a plucky girl, Mija, and her adorable giant CGI hippo-sized Superpig, Okja. And it is – for the first twenty or so minutes. As we learn interspersed over the opening credits (a disorienting choice), Okja is one of 26 Superpigs being raised for ten years by farmers all over the world for the Mirando Corporation to help stop the global food crisis. Eventually, as most kid and animal films do, it comes down to an animal getting tragically killed and a kid rapidly growing up. Throw in some corporate greed, a creepy (deeply as we learn later) animal wrangler, Korean vistas, goofy animal rights activists and you’ve got Okja, a movie that just isn’t very good.
This Netflix film is so filled with plot holes*, pacing problems and odd acting choices (looking at you screechy Jake Gyllenhaal) though, that it was a pass for me before we got to Okja’s rape by another very menacing Superpig at the hands of Gyllenhaal’s deeply creepy wrangler. You read that right. Billed as family-friendly, you won’t want to have to explain Okja’s screams in this scene to anyone under 13.
This scene is where I checked out of Okja, gentle reader. Let me save you the hour of my life I’ll never get back and recommend you never check into Okja.
Really, really short review: Disappointing before it takes a jarring turn into disturbing.
*How does taking ten years to only raise 26 pigs the size of a hippo help to feed the world? What’s with those braces on Tilda Swinton? Why is Grandpa so whiny and incompetent? How do the people who take Okja away get off that mountain so fast? What is the deal with K?