Gentle giant Okja oinks out for all animals that have suffered through the inhumane practices of factory farming or a life destined for the slaughterhouse in the Netflix original movie, “Okja.” Through her harrowing fight for life, Okja brings the topic of animal welfare back into the eye of the public as we are left with some substantial food for thought that deviates well beyond the fictional super pig.
In the desolate mountains of South Korea, Okja, the product of genetic mutation created by a multinational agrochemical company, and her young caregiver Mija, shared an unexpected and unbreakable bond as they grew up together much like a puppy and a child. However, their friendship sustained a substantial and potentially irreversible complication as the Mirando Corporation greedily reclaimed Okja with sickening plans to turn her into a scrumptious pork dinner.
With boundless love for Okja and tremendous tenacity, Mija becomes an inspiration for those who have ever let fear stand in the way of fighting for what they believe in. She travels across the world in a selfless effort to save her dear friend with the help of the Animal Liberation Front whom share the same motive. While the fight is not emotionally or physically easy for Mija, the fight for life proves to be worth it in the end.
South Korean film director, Bong Joon-ho was flawless in his fictional creation of the super pig animal that is ultimately the star of the movie “Okja.” While Okja and her fellow super pigs appeared in the film to be a morph between an elephant and a very hungry swine, its unique physique was fictional enough for the film’s content to not come across as overly graphic or disturbing for viewers in the many scenes that displayed extreme animal cruelty. But at the same time, the super pigs’ gentle eyes and the attention to detail invested in the animal’s makeup allowed for it to be realistic enough to purposefully touch viewers with the complex message of compassion that “Okja” generates.
As viewers are reminded in “Okja,” it is easy to overlook what does not first handedly affect us and how we live our lives, such as the treatment of livestock, wild animals or pets. While we may be silenced to ignorance by society constructed taboos rather than acknowledging reality, animal abuse is far more close to home than one may know as it happens all across the world to all different kinds of animals.
In the cruel mindset and actions of the Mirando Corporation in the film, guilt and shame materialize in the guts of viewers to make all realize what the world could become if we allow greed to be our sole motivator. But fear for the future is eventually replaced with a strong sense of reassurance, as Mija’s altruistic presence produces feelings of empowerment and hope for humanity.
Mija enlightens the audience to be more aware of how the influence of one can quickly turn into the movement of many with positivity.
The film is rich in reality, hope and the pursuit for change, and it does far more than just entertain as it truly makes viewers take a step back and consider that compassion should not end with human beings, or even just household pets, it should extend to all animals and living things.