Many of the films battling in this bracket have been very different from each other, even if they’re ostensibly of the same genre.
And while you could say the same for these two when it comes to style and substance (and maybe quality), at the end of the day they’re both fantastical stories about cute kids that form an unshakeable bond with lovable mythical creatures.
It’s just too bad that one has to go. Those are the rules.
Rotten Tomatoes rating
Okja: 86 percent
The Neverending Story: 80 percent
Calling Ojka the worst of Bong Joon-ho’s films is a little like saying it’s the lesser of Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships. But the fact remains: Ojka is perhaps a little stranger, a little less fully imagined than some of the Korean writer-director’s other work. It certainly pales in comparison to what he did directly after that, last year’s Parasite.
The Neverending Story, meanwhile, is an unapologetically silly romp that, it must be said, doesn’t hold up all that well. But it does have the power of nostalgia and good luck holding reason or critical analysis up to that.
Worldwide box office (USD)
The Neverending Story: $20.1 million
As a Netflix-released film, we don’t currently have any data about how Okja did at the box office. And, unlike something like To All The Boys, we haven’t gotten tidbits about how widely successful the film has been on the streaming service. It’s safe to say, however, that Okja saw a substantial rise in viewers after Parasite’s opening.
The Neverending Story sure seems like an epic that would open to widespread attention. But it’s safe to say much of its notoriety came after its theatrical release. The film debuted in the middle of summer in 1984 and only managed a sixth place finish at the box office during its opening weekend. Of course, it must be said that it had some competition. Ahead of it on the list that weekend? Ghostbusters, Gremlins and The Natural.
The Neverending Story: 8/10
Though principal photography was done in South Korea, many of the city shots in Okja are clearly Vancouver, as Britannia Beach, Strathcona and the PNE are all noticeable.
And while the majority of The Neverending Story was shot in-studio in Germany, the street scenes and Queen Mary Elementary School were of course filmed here, as was the infamous chase through Blood Alley.
Tough one. We’re going to lean into the nostalgia and (maybe undeservingly) call it for The Neverending Story.
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