Published on March 14th, 2014 | by Chris Daniels0
The incomparable Rob Thomas has delivered a masterpiece of dramatic film that all Veronica Mars fans will thoroughly enjoy.
(Note: I am a rabid fan of the Veronica Mars TV series. Much of the review will be clearly colored by this.)
10 years after the debut of an exceptional TV show, and eight years after it was unceremoniously pulled from the airwaves, Rob Thomas put up a Kickstarter campaign to fund a movie. It had a goal of $2 million, which would get the movie made — but it wouldn’t get us much.
As it turned out, 91,585 people liked his plan to create a film that would wrap up storylines from the series. They liked it enough that rather than pledging just $2 million, the backers generated over $5.7 million.
In the process of doing so, they achieved a number of amazing Kickstarter awards:
Fastest project to reach $1 million.
Fastest project to reach $2 million.
All-time highest-funded project in the FILM category.
Third-highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.
On to the movie itself.
The movies share its title with the TV show: Veronica Mars. It opens with a quick recap of the show’s two-season run before launching forward to a time 10 years after the series ended (intelligently appropriate, Rob).
Veronica (Kristen Bell) is primed to take the bar exam and become a lawyer. For a reason I can’t explain, she is interviewing with a very prestigious law firm in New York City. It’s a firm which, I have to imagine, doesn’t hire people fresh out of school, especially those who haven’t even passed the bar yet.
In the midst of her interviews, she gets a call from an old high school love interest, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). He has been accused of murder (again).
Naturally, Veronica decides to pack up, say goodbye to her boyfriend, Stosh “piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell), and head back to her sunny home town of Neptune, California.
Logan, an Air Force pilot, is relieved to see his friend. He starts bringing her up to speed, and shortly thereafter, the rest of the familiar faces join in: Gia Goodman (Krysten Ritter), Mac (Cindy Majorino), Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen), Weevil (Francis Copa), Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III), and many more that will delight returning viewers.
As you might imagine, a complex series of issues comes to light, creating a symphony of drama, and, in typical Rob-Thomas fashion, some true laugh-out-loud moments.
While this is a great standalone film, it is peppered with many humorous references and nods to the movie’s predecessor. If you are a fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed. There are many giggle-worthy moments: from the guy on the street singing, “we used to be friends,” to Dax Shepard’s appearance, to the mention of Veronica supposedly going to work for the FBI (referring to a potential third season).
My only real note of contention is, admittedly, somewhat petty. Kristen Bell was just recovering from having her child with husband Dax Shepard. The unfortunate (and expected) weight gain from that wonderful life event left her looking very unlike the character we all fell in love with, and distracted from the film. I’m curious to know why they couldn’t have waited a few more months to start filming, to allow Bell to get back into shape for the movie.
Aside from that one tiny note, the film was fantastic. The script was masterfully written, the acting superb, the humor gut-heaving, and the drama well done.
Cinematography for the film was indistinguishable from other high-quality films, and it’s easy to see that a lot of time, effort, and care went into it. Its creators ensured that the $5.7 million of pledges went into a work of art that does not disappoint.
As one of the 91,000+ backers, I am proud to be a part of this community effort. As a huge fan of Thomas, the series, and the mythos, I am ecstatic to report that this is an excellent film.
5 out of 5 Stars
Writer: Christopher Daniels
Editor: Jeff Boehm
Review by Don Guillory
Fans of the Veronica Mars series were able to have
their show arrive on the big screen through a Kickstarter campaign. They will not be
disappointed. The film picks up ten years after where the series left off. After
walking away from her life as a teenage private investigator, Veronica Mars is
pulled back to her hometown due to a former boyfriend being accused of murder.
Additionally, she faces a town that has changed from the time that she left, and not
for the better. In pursuing the case she has to come to terms with where she fits in
and where she belongs. Should she accept her new life and career in New York City or
return home to California where she is drawn by the need to always be in the fight.
The story is relatively strong and allows those who are not familiar with the show
to follow along as if it were a stand-alone film.
The performances by many of the
characters, who have returned for the film, are filled with wit and are highly
relatable. There is nothing far-fetched about the movie and it does not attempt to
overreach. With a strong connection to new audiences, fans of the series can look
forward to this Kickstarter film leading to a series of Veronica Mars films.