Screen Time: G.I. Joe, ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’ Delivers

For this week’s Screen Time web show, Herald movie columnist Tim Albrecht and I talk “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” and “Oz The Great and Powerful,” which I FINALLY saw last weekend.

I know, I’m late. And I also know I probably missed out on not seeing it in 3-D.

But it was wonderful.

Save for the first 20 minutes, the film was colorful, uplifting and bright: the perfect antidote to North Dakota’s would-be spring. Director Sam Raimi catapults us into a visually striking world full of adorably clad inhabitants, so inviting, I wanted to live there.

Some of the effects did come across a bit cartoon-y. When James Franco (Oz) and Michelle Williams (Glinda, the Good Witch) travel by bubble, the effects seemed to falter, but that may have been a sequence better suited for 3-D.

Even kicking butt, Glinda the Good Witch has a heart of gold.
Even kicking butt, Glinda the Good Witch has a heart of gold.

At first, I was concerned that Franco might’ve been miscast. He’s charismatic and talented, but he brings a very palpable air of modernity, which I thought might not translate.

But it all worked in his favor.

The role of Oz calls for a fast-talking con-man with an ahead-of-his-time charm. And Franco delivers.

Williams, as always, is a delight to watch. I came out of the film wishing Glinda and I could be besties because she’s so positive, encouraging and devoid of petty bad habits.

SPOILER ALERT: I’m not alone here, but I called Mila Kunis’ transformation into the Wicked Witch. Though, I’m no genius because I didn’t foresee Rachel Weisz as evil.

Both actresses bring it, and I was really taken with the backstory of The Wicked Witch. As someone who grew up with “The Wizard of Oz,” it was an insight that stuck with me days after I left the theater.

“Oz” does lack momentum before the end, but it makes for an even more entertaining ‘show’down. The film’s ending mirrors that of its sequel, which some may find cheesy, but for me, it just enchanted me further.

Definitely watch it if you’re curious. Save for some moments, it’s worth it.