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Okja (UHD Blu-ray) review

Okja (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: July 18, 2022, 11:40:13 AM »

Studio: Criterion / Netflix
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Rating: R
Film: 4/5
Master genre exploder Bong Joon Ho swirls pathos, dark satire, action, and horror into an exhilarating twenty-first-century fairy tale. An all-star cast including Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, and Jake Gyllenhaal is led by An Seo Hyun as Mija, a South Korean girl growing up on an Edenic mountainside with her grandfather and best friend: Okja, a giant, empathetic “superpig” created as part of a secret GMO experiment. When Okja is abruptly torn away from her, Mija embarks on a perilous rescue mission that places her at the center of a sinister corporate conspiracy. While Bong’s trademark virtuosic set pieces dazzle, Okja’s beating heart is the connection between a girl and her superpig, made all the more poignant by the brilliant special effects that bring the animal star to unforgettable life.
My Thoughts
Everything these days is too political, and yes, that includes the movies as well. Wokeness has spread like a disease and is consuming everything in its path. So, if you’re extra sensitive to political messaging and can’t look past what could sure be seen as pure propaganda, then don’t watch this film. If you have the ability to just sit back and enjoy a film for the story and are able to compartmentalize the “message,” then you can have a good time with this movie because I surely did.
The main focus of the film is between a young girl and her “experimental” pig who is named Okja. I have friends who have raised animals on farms and one of the first things they’ll tell you is that they never name the livestock nor get to attached to them emotionally. Eventually they end up as dinner and you don’t want to explain to the kids that they’re eating “Fluffy the cow,” if you know what I mean? Regardless, this young Korean girl and her grandfather live on a remote hillside and Okja is Mija’s best friend, so when the “evil company” comes to take their prized “superpig” back to the lab, Mija will stop at nothing to save her friend.
I have to admit that the second act took me by surprise and while I don’t agree with the political messages (both eating meat and supporting capitalism are bad things and are filled with bad people), I did have quite a few laughs along the way and I did make an emotional connection to Mija and her pet. What I find interesting though, is that end the end capitalism prevails, so maybe that was the ultimate message in the film after all?
On the video front, I doubt you’d be able to find another video transfer that exceeds the image quality on this disc. If you’re lucky, you’d find a couple to equal it, but this is arguably one of the best looking 4K discs I’ve ever experienced. Detail is off the charts, colors are vivid and accurate, and the depth in the image looks damn-near 3D. The Atmos track is quite good as well, but falls just short of the best out there. Imaging is excellent and the use of discrete effects are well done, but the mix overall isn’t as aggressive as some of the best tracks out there.
Video 10/10
Audio 9/10 (Dolby Atmos)
Special Features:
  • New Conversation between Bong and producer Dooho Choi
  • New interviews with actors An Seo Hyun and Byun Heebong
  • New interviews with members of the crew about the film’s cinematography, visual effects, and costume and production design
  • Short programs including a director’s video diary, featuring Bong; actors Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Steven Yeun
  • Teaster, trailer and web promos
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Karen Han
  • UHD + Blu-ray

My wife didn’t want to watch the film due to the political messaging, but I convinced her to give it a try. Thankfully, she was able to look past the propaganda and enjoy the film as much as I did. If it piques your interest, it is available on Netflix to view, but if you have a 4K display, please buy the disc to support Criterion for giving us one of the best 4K discs to date. Highly recommended.
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High-Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 88” 16x9 Fixed Screen
Trinnov Altitude 16 Audio/Video Processor
ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels
ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: URC MX-990
M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
M&K Sound X15+ Subwoofer
Dual JL Audio F-110 (stacked and treated as one sub)
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: Okja (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2022, 03:17:10 PM »

My response to your review is....me too! Thoroughly enjoyed this one.. :)



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Re: Okja (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2022, 03:26:55 PM »
I wondered what this film was about. Thanks for the review. 
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