Why Bong Joon-ho’s latest film should have gone further
Okja is the latest film from Bong Joon-ho, the director Snowpiercer, Mother, and a handful of other movies. It tells the story of a girl, Mija, who raises a super pig named Okja on her grandfather’s farm in South Korea. The corporation that owns Okja comes and takes her away, leading Mija on an emotional journey across the globe.
I enjoyed Okja and the themes it presents, but it fell short for me in a few different ways.
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Thoughts on the anime film adaptation of Tsutomu Nihei’s manga.
Blame! is a marvel of stylish 3D animation. It hits all of the notes that I want a sci-fi film to hit–an interesting premise, a visual style that feels fitting and unique to the world, and spot-on music.
Blame! follows the story of Killy, a quiet badass with a single mission: find a human with the Net Terminal Gene. Cybernetic and synthetic life forms have taken over the city, which is ever expanding. Those life forms also exterminate all humans. Along Killy’s journey, he comes across a village that is on the verge of running out of food.
There are lots of pronouns (Net Terminal Gene, Safeguards, etc.), and the film doesn’t dive too deep into what they are, which is to its credit. I like that not everything is explained, as it builds this mythology and world that can be interpreted by each individual.
Polygon Pictures, the studio behind the film, has a knack for working within the visual aesthetic they’ve developed for 3D animation, and it works to great effect.
There’s not much that I can say to the fault of Blame! that isn’t nitpicking. It’s a great, concise adaptation of the manga. If you dig the movie, check out the manga by Tsutomu Nihei. Also, Knights of Sidonia is an anime series on Netflix based on a manga by the same author, which is worth watching.
I watched the movie with Japanese voices and English subtitles.