The Veronica Mars movie is a godsend to the very fans who helped crowd-fund the film just a little over a year ago. The movie, starring Kristen Bell as the titular character, is set in Neptune, California nine years after we last watched Veronica walk down a street toward uncertainty – leaving behind unanswered hopes of what happened to her, until now.
Due to its origin of being funded by fans of the series that lasted three seasons – before Warner Bros. chipped in to cover costs of incentives and distribution – the movie is ultimately for the fans.
Director and writer Rob Thomas has said as much over the duration of its production. For those new to Neptune, there is a brief back-story at the beginning. As a stand-alone film, it may be enough but full enjoyment of the story and the context relies on familiarity with the series.
In the seven years since the end of the series, Veronica had a brief stint at the FBI, earned a Psychology degree, moved on from sleuthing – something she was really, really good at – and is receiving an offer from one of New York City’s top law firms. She also somehow remained in an off-again on-again relationship with Piz (Chris Lowell), which is odd considering how unlikely they seemed as a couple back in season three.
When Veronica gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), who has been accused of murder, she returns to Neptune and for us, the memories return.
What’s impressive about the film is how much it retained from the series.
For starters, the cast of characters: Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), Veronica’s dad; Weevil (Francis Capra); Wallace (Percy Daggs III); Mac (Tina Majorino) and Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen), plus a lot of the recurring cast.
And of course, the quips and standing jokes: most of which come from Veronica, but they pick up where they left off from the series without a hitch – perhaps even improving, with certain language allowances that the original series didn’t have, for instance.
The setting has shifted from focusing on the rich people and their mansions as the backdrop to showing the seedier side of Neptune, a town that has also changed over the last decade by becoming more corrupt and unforgiving to those who challenge that corruption.
While that particular detail could be important for any future reincarnation of the Veronica Mars story, it doesn’t play a central role yet, not in this film.
No. The film is about nostalgia, re-introductions and catching up without getting too deep into anything new. As such, the plot isn’t as complex as it could have been. Granted, the Veronica Mars series is known for its season-long mysteries so comparing an arc covering twenty 40-minute episodes to one that runs 107-minutes isn’t really fair.
There isn’t much time to get too elaborate when there isn’t even enough time with some of the more beloved characters, none of whom, other than Veronica, have the airtime they deserve. It’s also understandable that convenience was used with the plot when the mystery was being dreamed up. Quick, easy and to the point – a necessary sacrifice when coming back from the dead.
The Veronica Mars movie does what it can do and if rumours are to be believed, it’s a proper restart to a franchise that isn’t ending here. Next week, a novel will be released and there are talks of a sequel down the road. Best-case scenario: a Netflix season consisting of enough episodes to carry out more in-depth mysteries akin to those from the series, allowing for more time with Wallace, Mac, Weevil and especially Keith, but also allowing for more twists and turns that make the series so much fun to watch.
The movie has reintroduced Veronica Mars. Welcome back, Veronica. Now it’s time to get down to business.