Chat transcript with Jon Niccum

Film critic discusses Star Wars Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith

Welcome to our online chat with Jon Niccum, Journal-World entertainment editor, about Star Wars.

The chat took place on Thursday, May 19, at 1:00 PM and is now closed, but you can read the full transcript on this page.

Moderator: Welcome to our chat today with Jon Niccum, the J-W's entertainment editor, who's here to talk about the latest in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith.

Jon do you have any opening comments.

Jon Niccum: Greetings fellow Star Wars geeks and cretins. Let's "chat."

Omaha, Nebraska: In your opinion, do you think that George Lucas's implementation of computer graphics has hurt or helped the realistic nature of his films. For me, in Episode II in the scene of the stadium fight when the explosions started, it seemed to be very cartoonish and fake. Do you think Lucas has gone overboard with the special effects in Episodes I, II and III?

Jon Niccum: Lucas has become so dependent on CGI effects that the last three Star Wars films have a fake look to them. Until digital effects can completely fool the eye, they will always be inferior to shots of good old scale models ...

Jon Niccum: So yes, there is something curiously hollow and stagey about Lucas' films. And I think most of it has to do with the actors forced into 100% green-screen acting.

Brent kansas city: When you played with your star wars toys, did you make laser sounds with your mouth, or in your mind?

Jon Niccum: My mouth. I still make laser sounds when I write, especially when I use an ellipsis.


Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ***


The sixth and final installment in the Star Wars series is the darkest yet, and the only with a PG-13 rating. Though everyone knows Anakin Skywalker's development into Darth Vader is the focus of the movie, the story of how he gets there is about as dramatic as the series gets.

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Maurice-Lawrence: I am taking my 9 yr. old daughter and my 11 yr. old nephew to see "Revenge of the Sith" but am somewhat apprehensive after hearing about the level of violence in this episode. Would children that age be able to handle it?

Jon Niccum: We're actually running an article in Friday's Pulse section about parents who are dealing with the same question. I only have one kid who isn't even 2-years-old yet, so I have a hard time relating what differentiates age-appropriateness for a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old. That said, "Sith" doesn't have much more in the way of violence or dark tone than what is commonly on network TV in prime time.

Leslie: I just saw the movie and it was GREAT. What did you think about how Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader. Was it what you expected?

Jon Niccum: It was more believable than I expected. I liked how Supreme Chancellor Palpatine kept convincing Anakin that he was doing the morally right thing. It wasn't like Anakin went mental and started butchering people. In his mind, he was justifying all his actions, no matter how destructive they seemed.

John S. Lawrence: Do you think Anakin would have turned into Darth if he lived in Lawrence?

Jon Niccum: Only if Roy Williams was his Sith lord.

J, Lawrence: So is this film good, or do people merely want it to be good. When Episode II came out, there was a lot of relief that it just wasn't as bad as Episode I. Are people just happy that Episode III isn't Episode II?

Jon Niccum: You're on to something. I was very careful when giving the movie a star rating to keep it in perspective. I think that this is a good solid three-star movie. Just like "Kingdom of Heaven" is a three-star movie. There are a lot of people who couldn't conceive that a Star Wars flick could be bad, which is why everyone tended to praise "Phantom Menace" when it came out. Yet in hindsight those same people now talk about how lame it is. I don't really have ANY expectations from George Lucas. For the most part I think he's aloof, arrogant and out of touch. But, that said, I think he tried really hard to end the series on a high note. And he succeeded for the most part.

Leslie: I think Lucas did a good job of foreshadowing what was to become in Episodes I and II.

Jon Niccum: He did, but he could have both foreshadowed and made great movies. He ended up accomplishing only one of those goals.

Jackie from Vinland: What did you think about the end of the duel, i.e. how Obi-Wan won? I thought it was kind of lame for the end of such an epic duel.

Jon Niccum: I though it was kind of amusing how Obi-Wan used the tactic of having the physical high ground for a reason that Darth should surrender, when all through the series the Jedi's powers have violated every law of physics. But I did enjoy watching Vader's fate. It was much worse than I thought it would be.

Jackie from Vinland: Still, I loved the movie.

Jon Niccum: Yes. After the previous two movies, the more I thought about them the less I liked them. I had the opposite reaction with "Sith." I recall mostly positive memories of watching it.

Luke Skywalker Mos Eisley: Is Darth Vader my father???

Jon Niccum: Yes. Unfortunately, you have a latent crush on your sister, Leia.

Davis Planet Nebula: Why do you think that the new Star Wars movie is being compared to George Lucas's obsession with homosexuality

Jon Niccum: I DON'T think it's being compared to Lucas' obsession with homosexuality. But I do think there is a whole lot of metaphor and subtext involving the Bush administration in comparison to the Empire.

Moderator: That's all the time we have for today. We'd like to thank Jon for taking the time to spend with us today.

Jon Niccum: Thanks everybody. See you next time when we'll chat about "Miss Congeniality III."


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