High school is always such a drag without murder-conspiracies swelling around.
It’s been nine years since teenage detective/professional snooper Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was last seen in her hometown of Neptune, California, and that’s how she would like to keep it. She’s got a nice lawyer-job coming her way in New York City, a boyfriend that she wants to get serious with and sees all of her hard work and time finally paying-off. That is, until she checks out the news and one day and spots an old-flame of hers (Jason Dohring) is embroiled in some sort of murder-scandal. Veronica doesn’t know what to believe, so she decides to take matters into her own hands and see what really happened, who was apart of it and even see if she wants to continue her ambitious-life in NYC, or just stay in Neptune for as long as she possibly can. Because, come to think of it, her high-school reunion is coming up. And even though she sure as hell doesn’t want to be spotted at one of those petty social-events, she might just decide to take one for the team and see if she can get ahead of her case; you know, the one that she’s decided to go out on a limb for herself. Nobody else. Just her. Veronica Mars, baby.
In case any of you lovely humanoids were wondering, the answer is “no, I never watched the original, Veronica Mars television show in its entirety”. I’ve seen a few episodes here and there, and with those few episodes, not only did I realize that it wasn’t exactly my cup-of-tea at the age of 12/13, but that those times would probably be the last I ever heard of the show in general. It wasn’t until a few years later that I decided to actually do some research of my own, then I realized: People love the hell out of this show.
I don’t know what the case was for me – maybe I wasn’t fully established as an “entertainment-junkie” by that time, or maybe it was just that something about the show really did bug me. Either way, I was surprised to see that so many people adored this show. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to watching it all in its entirety, then again, maybe not.
Regardless though, the fact of the matter remains that this is in fact a sequel-of-sorts of what happened after the show ended its original run and if you’re like me who was worried right from the get-go, here’s some friendly advice: Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the show already. The movie starts things off quite perfectly in giving us the events, happenings, ideas and themes from the show, in a neat, little “Previously On”-like method. It works because, for somebody like me who had barely any clue just who these people were or why any of them even mattered, it kept me glued-in and absolutely did the homework for me, allowing the movie to work its magic as it went along.
In fact, if there is any criticism I may have against this movie, it’s that some of it was a little too “insider-y” for me at times. That’s more of a negative towards me as a viewer for not catching up on the show beforehand, but I think for some people, it will be a bit jarring, especially if they haven’t seen the show beforehand, or understand some of these characters’ significance to the overall plot and setting. Basically, every once and awhile, a certain character will show-up who clearly is meant to be there for the die-hard fans to go nutso over, which is fine. The only problem is that, like I said before, the rest of us will find it a bit jarring and left in the dark. The good news is that that doesn’t always keep on happening throughout the whole movie, because once you eventually get used to the surroundings built here, you’ll find it to be a pretty fun time. As did I.
What works well with a movie like this is its central character, Veronica Mars. And what that really boils down to is the fact that she is so perfectly-played by Kristen Bell, it’s hard for me to imagine anybody else ever playing her before, let alone filling her shoes for a reboot or something. Bell is always lovely, funny, spirited and energetic, and always seem to make the most out of whatever crapola she accidentally shows her face up in. But, all of those bad movies she took her time to do, all cancel-out with Veronica Mars, because it’s the role she was born to play, the one that put her on the map and made us see her for an up-and-coming talent, and it’s so damn easy to see why.
As Veronica Mars, Bell gives us the impression that she’s always one step ahead of everyone around her. Whether it be in a physical or mental way, either way, Veronica Mars always has a trick up her sleeve and does a pretty fine job at making those around her feel like small, meaningless imbeciles. Which, granted, is fine because most of the people surrounding here are in fact, small, meaningless imbeciles. But Mars, being Mars, just calls it like she sees it, which not only makes her character sympathetic throughout the whole movie, but also makes believe her as somebody that can get done, what needs to be done, in order to do good for those around her; even if that does mean she’s doing the right thing for people she doesn’t particularly care for.
Everything I’m saying about Veronica Mars is probably no surprise whatsoever to fans of the show, but for me, a newcomer to this sort of thing, I found myself happy with this character, with Bell and totally understanding as to why her character, as well as her show, was so loved and beheld in the first place.
Damn you, CW! Damn you!
Though this is clearly Mars’s show that she gets to flaunt and run away with practically the whole time, the rest of the cast is pretty good, too, with a few cameo surprises thrown in there for good mix of fun treats. Jason Dohring is alright as Mars’ old boy-toy that she decides to help out after all of these years, and while I do see why so many ladies would fawn over him and his rockin’ bod, I can also see why the guy hasn’t quite been known or seen since he’s done Veronica Mars. He’s not necessarily a stiff, but most of the funny lines people are given here, feel genuine and make us laugh. Him, on the other hand, just makes you feel like he hasn’t acted in quite awhile and still has some rust left in the tank. That’s why when certain faces like Ken Marino, Krysten Ritter, Gaby Hoffmann, Ryan Hansen and plenty more from that, show up, do their thang and be funny, then it works like gangbusters and makes us laugh along with the ride.
You can tell that everybody is happy to be back with the gang and hoping that they are able to do this again in the near-future, even though it doesn’t seem too promising. Still though, one reunion, is better than none. Especially when your amongst a fine group of characters like these.
Yup, consider me sold on the whole phenomenon surrounding Veronica Mars. Adding it to my queue now as we speak!
Consensus: Going in and already being acquainted with the original source material may help you connect the dots when watching Veronica Mars, but is definitely not a “must”, as it still works on its own terms as fun, witty and energetic comedy, disguised as a detective tale.
7 / 10 = Rental!!
Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, Collider, Joblo, ComingSoon.net
Looking forward to seeing this, it was screening in select Australian cinemas this weekend! Glad to hear that it’s actually pretty good!
It’s a limited flick, but with good reason! Still need to see it, regardless of if you know anything about the show or not.
Nice review Dan. I’m actually a fan of the show, so I really looked forward to seeing this one. Unfortunately, I just felt like another episode instead of a movie and that made it lose some points in my book. I did like revisiting the characters tho 10 years on.
I could imagine that you liked it a whole lot more than me, but I see your point. The mystery did feel a little “TV-ish”.
I’ve never seen the show, so probably won’t be partaking in the movie. But good review as always Dan!
Makes sense. I’d say give it a shot, but honestly, do what you want!
Loved the show to the hilt. So, I was biased going into the movie from the onset. Saw it yesterday and I must say, I loved it. It retained all the quirkiness, characterizations, witty dialogues, intriguing premises, and other elements of the show. Fingers crossed for a sequel, as the movie clearly leaves scope for further installments.
Loved your review also, Dan. I can understand why non Mars-addicts may not be blown away by the movie. But it’s like you said, it works well on its own and can be enjoyed by objective viewers also.
I wasn’t blown away completely, but I still liked what I saw. May definitely check out the show in the future.
Glad to hear it can work without background knowledge of the source material. Looking forward to checking it out.
I hope you enjoy!
Good review, as a fan of the show I loved the film.
And I can toates see why!
Have already penned my own review and it’s not as generous.. I disliked it.. I saw flaws that I couldn’t look past and it annoyed me. I loved the series, I still do, hence dedicating my whole week to celebrating Veronica Mars the TV-show before I reveal the negative movie review on Sunday..
Maybe my thesis writing has sucked the fun out of me and couldn’t enjoy it like so many others have…
Don’t blame it on that. You like, what you like. Can’t help it if something doesn’t feel right to you. It’s just how it be.
I agree. As someone who never watched the show, I had a fun time with it. The relationship thing annoyed me, as Veronica was not sensitive about it at all when she….well spoilers, so not going to go further. Otherwise, it was quite good and I liked the characters!
I totally agree. However, I didn’t totally hate her for doing that. It was just a bit weird when it didn’t really seem to add up to much.
Dan, since you enjoyed the movie enough and Kristen Bell in particular, I’d definitely suggest you at least run through season one. That has a great ongoing mystery that works out really well, and you will understand the supporting characters a lot more. I’m a big fan of the show and liked the movie a lot, but I do agree that it has a big insider feeling to it. I had a feeling about where Veronica and the guy she picks are going since it’s what the fans want to see. Thomas wasn’t going to pull a Joss Whedon and kill Logan. Nice job.
Thanks, Dan! I think I might as well give the show a watch, see what I think about it. Because I’m definitely interested right now.
Movie is great if you watched the TV show.
Even with the introduction at the start, the film wouldn’t resonate well with people who did not watch the series. It’s watchable but the viewer wouldn’t be able to understand all the subtle connections.
Yeah, I didn’t understand most of those parts, however, I still was able to get by it all and enjoy the story.
Good review Dan as always. I was wondering if you could watch this film without being a fan of the show, it’s sounds like an enjoyable film. I’m also a fan of Bell so I might give this a try.
It’s enjoyable, although, I feel like if I had watched the show, it would have been something close to sex.
Great review Dan. Veronica Mars completely skipped us here, so I may have some catching up to do!
You just might!
Great review! If you’re going to catch up on the show, I’d say probably the first season is the best and strongest. It features Amanda Seyfried in an early role too.
So I’ve been hearing. Might as well give it a look-see!
My wife and I loved the movie. We pitched in on the kickstarter and got exactly what we wanted. Glad to hear if you haven’t watched Mars that it is enjoyable.
I haven’t really seen a full episode of this show too so I was on the fence about seeing it, since I didn’t know the characters and stuff. I’m a big fan of Kristen Bell though and based on what you just said, I just might give this one a look see 😀 Thanks
Man, I wished I watched the TV show. I know nothing about VM. But I’ve read and heard good things about this movie. Good write up, Dan and thanks, I may check this out once it’s out on blu ray.
Really nice review. Keep up the great work 🙂 An enjoyable film that’s worth watch and Kristen Bell was simply terrific. Here’s my review of ‘Veronica Mars’ http://www.aajani.blogspot.ca/2014/03/movie-review-veronica-mars_6193.html