News Blog Articles Okja film review: The super-pig film with the super-big message
Okja film review: The super-pig film with the super-big message

Okja film review: The super-pig film with the super-big message

July 6th, 2017

After watching the trailer for the highly anticipated film about a  young Korean girl, Mija and her rotund super-pig Okja, I was super  excited to watch what I essentially thought would be a fable of love. I  was suckered in at the start by the incredible CGI, the originality and  sweetness of the film until the true message of it hit me hard and fast.

The two main themes corporate greed and animal rights become abundant  and the fairytale aspect of the movie slips away making room for a  realistic depiction of the worldwide animal agriculture industries. The  film zeros in on what drives these large corporations, it’s not ‘feeding  the world’ – it’s profit. Money talks in ‘Okja’ and money talks in the  real world.  Mirando Corporation, creators of the super-pig, hide their  lies by disguising their animal products as eco-friendly and non-GMO  when they are really developed in labs and farmed in cruelly intensive  conditions.

Mija’s  love for Okja highlights the bond between human and animal, growing up  in the mountains away from big cities and big money, she grew to love  her super-pig and best friend and would do anything for her. It’s hard  not to tear up when such innocence is dragged into an unknown world of  enormous greed, corruption and betrayal.

The heroes of the day are the ALF (based on the Animal Liberation  Front, founded in 1976, known for rescuing caged animals). In the  storyline Jay, a humble but serious activist, crosses paths with Mija  while trying to rescue Okja and expose the horrors the Mirando  Corporation is trying to bury. Things don’t always go according to plan  for the good guys and the viewer is compelled to be either on the edge  of their seat or huddling up in a ball of tears. This film excels at  being able to draw a strong emotional reaction, first it was a strong  feeling of love followed by a lot of anger, then some more love and  ultimately sadness. I wanted an experience and I got one.

The ending, although satisfying in one respect is left open with a  permanent sobering message, the animals that are bred for food are not  able to retreat to the mountains and escape a fate of slaughter. They  are confined in cruel, overcrowded conditions in intensive farms, they  are scared, alone and unloved. I have already read that ‘Okja’ has made  people think more compassionately about what they are eating including  the film director Bong Joon-ho who went vegan after visiting a  slaughterhouse while doing research for the movie.

The most disappointing aspect of this film is that it didn’t make the  big screen, although I did enjoy watching it from the comfort of my  couch in my track pants and with the added bonus of being able to  experience various emotions in the privacy of my home. For those who  watch ‘Okja’ and are ready to make positive change, SAFE has a free 100% Vegetarian Starter Guide and six-week challenge to encourage compassionate New Zealanders to eat kind.

Rating: 4 ½ stars

Krysta Neve, SAFE Programme Officer (Eat Kind)


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