From Netflix description and images for Okja, I thought this was going to be a cute movie about a little girl, saving her beloved, pet floppy eared hippo. Thinking it would be similar to Charlotte’s web, I even considered watching it with my nieces. I was very wrong and luckily, I watched this one alone. This movie is 100% not suitable for children, and would most likely traumatise them.
Okja, is a genetically modified super pig (not a floppy eared hippo), created by an unethical meat company, that claims their super pig is non-GMO and leaves a minimum footprint on the planet. The company sends a number of its super pigs, to be raised by farms from all around the world, to see which will raise the ultimate super pig.
Okja, one of these pigs, is raised by a farmer and his orphaned granddaughter (Mija), in the mountain forests of Korea. Okja and Mija become best friends and happily spend their days together, in the mountains. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last long and the company comes back for their super pig.
The company plans to show the world, their ultimate super pig in pageant, then bring it to slaughter. Okja, being this ultimate super pig, is taken away and Mija is completely outraged. Mija then, steals the little her grandfather has and sets out to save Okja.
In her quest to save Okja, Mija quickly runs into a group of animal rights activist, who manipulate Mija into using Okja, to show the world how evil the meat company is. From there, Okja is horribly victimised, in an inaccurate depiction of the meat and life stoke industry, that is both traumatising and in poor taste. Meanwhile, Mija and the activist carry out a very weak, poorly thought out plan to save Okja, ignoring the basic rules of event management, like security and staff background checks.
It’s safe to say this was not the cute movie, I hoped Okja would be. Instead, it was incredibly confusing and horrifying. But, to prevent being completely negative about Okja, I will start with the good points.
Okja and Mija, were really cute and adorable. This made it very easy to side with Mija and hope Okja didn’t get eaten. It’s also, the only reason I watched this movie, to the end. Their cutest and likeability, keeps you interested in the storyline and in suspense, about the outcome for Okja. Also, Glenn (Steven Yeun) from the walking dead, is in this movie. For fans of Glenn, this will probably be the high point of Okja.
Another good point, was capturing the twisted logic of some (not all) animal rights activist, to a tee. This logic being, risk the lives of many innocent, emotion feeling, living organisms, (that have nothing to do with the situation and are in some way victims themselves), to save the life of one emotion feeling, living organism. It was very accurate. On at least 3 occasions, the activist risked killing or horribly injuring 100s of human and other animals, to save one super pig. But also, only to prove the point, that company was evil. Kind of scary how well they captured this logic.
I couldn’t help but feel this movie, was aimed at shaming meat-eater. It really gives the impression, the creators are trying, to make us all feel guilty about, being unable to synthesise (make) vitamin B12 yourselves, hence needing to eat meat or animal products (apologies for the science lesson from an ex-biomed). It takes this shaming a bit too far and shows inaccurate traumatising scenes of a research lab and slaughter-house, that looked like scenes out of Saw or a horror movie. They also cross a line, in some of these scenes by, suggesting Okja is sexually assaulted, then showing people eating bits of Okja. This movie is definitely not suitable for anyone of a sensitive nature and should really come with a warning.
The storyline was just as bad, ignoring common sense, having parts that went nowhere and including disturbing scenes, that weren’t necessary to the plot or outcome. It was also extremely unbelievable, weak and very confusing at time, making for very cringy watching.
Overall, I would say this movie is disturbing and borderlines on being, childishly silly. It’s inaccuracies and audience shaming, was incredibly annoying and makes the movie painful to watch. If you removed the meat shaming and had the movie solely be about Mija saving Okja, the movie would have been a lot better and could have been enjoyable.
I would not recommend this movie to anyone. It’s very disappointing and could potentially traumatise its audience. If you are looking, something meaningful to watch on Netflix, I would highly recommend, Beast of No Nation. It’s a much better movie and a better investment of your time.