Synopsis: Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her on the eve of graduating law school. While interviewing at high-end law firms, Veronica gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don’t seem right with how Logan’s case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.
Release Date: March 14, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery
It’s been seven years since “Veronica Mars” the television show about a high school girl who moonlights as a private detective, went off the air. It’s about time for a movie based on the pre-sold property, isn’t it? Well, the Cult of Veronica can rejoice; the Veronica Mars movie is here.
Veronica Mars catches up with Veronica (Kristen Bell from Frozen) ten years after high school. The young woman lives in New York, is in a relationship with Stosh ‘Piz’ Piznarski (Chris Lowell from The Help), and has just graduated law school. While visiting Piz at work, she learns that a high school friend of hers, a girl named Carrie Bishop who became a pop star and goes by the stage name Bonnie DeVille, has been killed. When Veronica hears that the main suspect is her old high school flame (and Bonnie’s current squeeze) Logan Echolls (Deep Impact‘s Jason Dohring), she jets out to Neptune, California to help him find a local lawyer. It happens to be the weekend of Neptune High’s ten year reunion, so she is not only reacquainted with her private investigator father (Galaxy Quest‘s Enrico Colantoni), but she also reconnects with a bunch of her old high school chums. As an ex-private investigator, Veronica starts snooping around, and the more she learns about the case against Logan, the more she wants to help clear his name. She digs deep and uncovers a much deeper conspiracy involving many of her old acquaintances from Neptune High. She also happens to attract the attention of the true killer. She has to hurry and come up with evidence to clear Logan’s name before the real murderer can stop her.
The road from television show to feature film was a unique one for Veronica Mars. Instead of relying on studio funding for the production, series creator/movie director Rob Thomas (“Party Down”) and star Kristen Bell turned to the fans and initiated a Kickstarter campaign. It was hugely successful; they hit their two million dollar goal on the first day. When the campaign closed, almost six million dollars had been raised. Taking the fan funded route meant two things to Thomas. First, it reaffirmed his knowledge that the show had a maniacally loyal fan base, and second, it assured that the film would be made his way. Because of the unconventional financing, Veronica Mars is exactly what fans of the television show are going to want.
Rob Thomas is a television guy. If that isn’t evident from his resume (which includes not only “Veronica Mars” but “Cupid” and “90210” as well), it’s obvious from this big-screen adaptation of Veronica Mars. The film feels like a long episode of the television show, or maybe a T.V. movie featuring the familiar characters. It’s safe and sterile enough for teenage consumption, with lots of “freakin'” and “f’in” instead of the real curse words. It’s got musical montages with current pop songs. It’s got forced romantic subplots that don’t really make sense. It’s even paced like a T.V. production, with odd lapses in action that seem to be leaving room for commercials. None of this means that it is a bad movie; it’s actually very entertaining, and a fairly clever big screen adaptation of the show. Thomas knows his audience, he knows exactly what they want, and he gives it to them. The characters are pretty much the same as they are in the show, and much of the original cast reprises their roles, if only in walk-on appearances (but, thankfully, no Paris Hilton). The cult of Veronica will embrace the movie with open arms, happy to see all of their favorites characters back, even if it is only for a couple of hours.
Now, Veronica Mars was made for fans of the show, but it’s just as entertaining for new recruits. In fact, the movie opens up with a quick overview of the entire series, providing any and all necessary information that is relevant to the characters. Those unfamiliar with the show should not be deterred from going. Veronica Mars will please hardcore fanatics, but it will also entice new viewers to become addicted to the show themselves.
The screenplay for Veronica Mars isn’t as seamless as the scripts for the show were. Written by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero (who also wrote for the show), the film meanders through red herrings and tangents that go nowhere, and just feels heavily padded at times. For example, when the first suspect that Veronica and Logan come up with for Carrie/Bonnie’s murder ends up with an airtight alibi, she disappears from the plot. This girl is a major character in the first half of the film, and then is never heard from again, without even a mention, let alone a reason given. In addition, there are a handful of bland little subplots, mostly romantic, that appear to be only included in an effort to humanize the characters but, in reality, just serve to make them all look sappy. The unanswered questions and holes in the plotline might have worked for the show, where characters can be introduced and forgotten week in and week out. But, as part of a feature film script, this stuff ends up looking like fluff, and the film would be tighter and more economical, and therefore stronger, without them.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Rob Thomas
- Screenwriter(s): Rob ThomasDiane Ruggiero
- Cast: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls)Krysten Ritter (Gia Goodman) Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas)Francis Capra (Eli “Weevil” Navarro)Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel)
- Editor(s): Daniel Gabbe
- Cinematographer: Ben Kutchins
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Josh Kramon
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA