The last thing I expected to glean from the first trailer for Bong Joon-ho’s Okja was a feeling of familiarity. The director has eschewed tradition time and time over, offering up instead some of the most winningly strange pictures in contemporary filmmaking; our earlier looks at Okja suggested that this next outing would carry that torch. And indeed, it packs plenty of weird. But surprisingly enough, Okja does also read as a pretty familiar, traditional story. As the first trailer spells out pretty clearly, the movie will follow a young girl’s quest to rescue her beloved pet after he’s been kidnapped. Surely we’ve seen this premise carried time and time again. The difference: this time, the pet in question is a gigantic pig monster.
The megalomaniacal culture over which she reigns will be the main hurdle between farm girl Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) and her precious Okja. Filling out the cast are the likes of Paul Dano and Steven Yeun as a pair of animal rights activists, a gun-toting Lily Collins, a sinister-looking Giancarlo Esposito (what else is new?), and a damn near unrecognizable Jake Gyllenhaal.
In short, there does indeed look to be plenty of that typically weird Bong Joon-ho imagination through which this decidedly traditional plot may be filtered. We’ll see how these two elements complement one another when the film hits Netflix on June 28.
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