Movies: Veronica Mars Review (or “One For Older Viewers, But Probably Not New Ones”)

In my list of the Top 50 TV Dramas of all time, I ranked Veronica Mars at a respectable #28, so the news that a Kickstarter-funded movie was on its way in 2014 was welcomed by me.

Anyone who watched the show will remember that it didn’t exactly finish on a satisfactory note, with the show’s late cancellation meaning the last episode felt more like a cliffhanger than a conclusion.

But seven years have passed, so it’s not like they can just pick up where they left off. So how would they deal with that?

And then there’s the possibility that in a bid to satisfy all the fans, the film could end up just being one that wallows in nostalgia rather than seeks to work well in its own right.

The only way to find out if that was true was to watch it.

Veronica Mars Review: What’s It About?

10 years on from leaving school, former PI Veronica Mars has crafted a good life for herself in New York and is just about to start a new job working for a top legal firm.vmars

But when she finds out her ex boyfriend Logan has been accused of murder, she must go back to her home town of Neptune to prove his innocence.

Meanwhile, it just so happens that it’s her school’s 10 Year Class Reunion. What a lovely coincidence.

Oh, and for some reason, Neptune is also under the control of what seems to be a corrupt, almost post-apocalyptic police force. Ok then…

Veronica Mars Review: Who’s In It?

Pretty much everyone who was in the TV series and didn’t die, except for the Kane family. Obviously Kristen Bell stars.

Veronica Mars Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

It’s mixed. Wherever there’s an aggregate score based on votes, it does well, and that’ll no doubt be because of fanboys.

In the press meanwhile, some like it and others don’t.

Thoughts – Like An Extended Episode

Whenever a TV series gets made into a movie, you have to wonder whether or not it’ll work for new viewers. I suppose you could ask yourself who would bother to see a film based on a TV series they haven’t watched, but then I remember being forced to watch Serenity having never seen an episode of Firefly in my life. I found it boring and confusing; like starting to read a book from the middle.

And I guess that’s a bit of a problem with the Veronica Mars movie.

It’s been some time since I’d seen the TV show, so I can’t remember too much of it, and I’m certainly not a dyed in the wool fanboy, but I quickly got to grips with who the characters were and much of what I needed to know came flooding back.

Having said that, there’s no doubt that many of the cameos were unnecessary, and some of the plot was a bit tenuous.

I mean, why did the local Sheriff have to be the brother of the old one? What did that add to the film? And of all the characters who were in it, the only ones from the original series that actually needed to be there were Veronica, her dad and her ex boyfriend.

Having former classmates and friends drop in to say “Hi” didn’t add much.

Then again, this is a film that only exists because fans invested in it. So if that’s what they want, then it’s fair enough.

However, it does then set itself up as being something that is for the fans rather than for everyone. Really, in terms of pacing – and I suppose budget and production quality – this was just like an extended TV episode.

Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you. I was fine with it.

The Plot

Where I would take an issue with Veronica Mars though is in the plot, or at least the sub-plots.

The Who-Dunnit storyline was good enough, but the angry, evil police stuff just made no sense. Characters were killed, others were shot and the whole point of it was…well I’m not sure?

And it wasn’t even that it was resolved either, which seemed weird.

Maybe they are setting themselves up for a sequel?

But that area was definitely lacking.

Veronica Mars Review: Final Thoughts

So on the whole, I’d say that this was fine; not spectacular, but watchable and fun.

What it is, is a love letter by the fans to themselves. Since they are the ones who paid for it, I suppose it would be asking t0o much for it not to be heavy on the nostalgia.

As such – in spite of the studio’s attempt to make it something for everyone by providing a brief summary of the entire plot of the TV show narrated by Bell  in the first minute – I would say that you should only bother with this if you’ve seen and enjoyed the TV show.

If you haven’t, then watch the TV show first and then watch it.

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