Okja, the new film from Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho, debuts at the Cannes Film Festival this week, shadowed by off-screen controversy. The sci-fi fantasy film is being released by Netflix, which has spurred many at the fest (including jury president Pedro Almodovar) to vigorously defend the big-screen experience, vowing not to give the Cannes jury’s stamp of approval to works that stream to homes with limited theatrical release. (Will Smith, a Cannes juror whose next film, Bright, is a Netflix original, defended the service.)
Beyond that brouhaha, Bong’s upcoming film will stand on its merits when it reaches audiences — wherever they may be watching — later this summer. To get a sense of what Okja delivers, we now have its first full-length trailer (watch it above).
Building upon previous teasers, this promo provides our first real glimpse at the title character, a giant hippo-dog creature who shares an unbreakable bond with human BFF Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun). That relationship is threatened, however, by Tilda Swinton’s Lucy Mirando, who strives to capture Okja in order to help enhance her conglomerate’s pig-meat products, presumably by augmenting them with Okja’s steroidal DNA. What follows is, it seems, a wild saga in which Mija teams with anti-Mirando revolutionaries (led by Paul Dano and The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun), and confronts a King Kong-ish carnival barker (a bizarre Jake Gyllenhaal), during the course of an urban adventure marked by Bong’s trademark blend of out-of-this-world action and tender heart.
No matter where you fall on the Is-Netflix-good-for-movies? divide, there’s no denying Okja looms as one of the summer’s most eagerly anticipated — and best looking — releases. It arrives on Netflix and in select theaters on June 28.
Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Snowpiercer’: Watch a red-band (NSFW) trailer:
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