‘Okja’ is an odd but touching story

By: 
FINES MASSEY ◆ FMASSEY@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

Netflix has been aiming for the fences lately, transitioning from a service full of classics and B movies to a full fledged movie studio.

One of its big acquisitions this year is the second English language film by acclaimed North Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who created one of the best sci-fi films in years with 2014’s “Snowpiercer.” Like his previous film, “Okja” is a multi-national mixture of characters, tones and ideologies that when put together make a unique cinematic experience that will have you thinking about its deep themes for weeks after seeing it.

“Okja” takes the arguments against GMOS and the industrial food complex and takes them to a new level with a little sci-fi, just like “Snowpiercer” explored the greater theme of class warfare through a train traveling a snow-covered, uninhabitable world. The food company, Mirando Corporation, headed up by a delightfully evil and slightly stupid, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton), has found a way to solve all of the world’s hunger problems. The company created a super pig (think of a pig the size of a hippo with the demeanor of a puppy) to meet the world’s needs. A super pig is given to 26 farmers across the world. Each are given 10 years to raise the biggest and best super pig. It’s all a big publicity stunt to keep people from knowing the truth about the super pigs, which I won’t ruin.

One of the super pigs is given to a farmer in South Korea and is mostly taken care of by his granddaughter, Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun). Mija travels the wooded mountains around her grandfather’s house with her super pig, Okja, by her side. Mija, who has no idea that the Mirando Corporation still owns the animal, treats Okja more like a dog than a future endless supply of bacon and pork chops. And might I add that the special effects in “Okja” are some of the best I’ve seen in years. Okja looks so real that you’d swear she was a real creature.

For the complete review, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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