This month Criterion Collection has brought Bong Joon Ho’s Okja to Bluray and 4K Blu in the US for the first time. This is hugely awesome not only because this is a great film and Criterion does a top-notch job with their disc releases, but it is also one of the few titles that have been broken out of the Netflix jail. Physical media is so important for helping films enter the public consciousness of great cinema. Blu collectors will advocate for movies and share them, copies on shelves will draw attention of new viewers for years, and the bonus content they contain really helps pull fans beyond just the film itself. Netflix, while being convenient, has a bad history of burning through millions of hours of content, which is only advertised for a few weeks and then is stockpiled and forgotten in the bowels of their servers. Okja provides a great example of this phenomena when compared with the notoriety and success of the director’s other cinema/Blu released films Parasite and Snowpiercer.
The plot of Okja could best be described as a girl’s journey to rescue her genetically engineered ‘superpig’ from exploitation and slaughter by a mega-conglomerate. It is a sweet and touching set up and while Okja might seem almost like a children’s movie, it is, at times, profoundly graphic, dark, and disturbing. Even I was uncomfortable in some scenes and I’ve sat through multiple screenings of all the Hostel movies. The film does not pull any punches in its depiction of food processing industries and there is animal (albeit realistic cgi) cruelty to the extreme. Bear that in mind before plopping little ones down unmonitored in front of Okja.
Criterion’s Bluray release features beautiful and tasteful cover art, inside cover art, and a booklet. On the disc itself is a bounty of great interviews, featurette content, screen tests, and most importantly, the ‘Mirando Corporation’ web PR videos that were put out as part of the films marketing campaign. If you haven’t already, make sure you add Okja to your Bong Joon Ho collection alongside Criterion’s release of Memories of Murder.
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.