Ever since the teenage private eye show Veronica Mars was cancelled after three seasons in 2007, the cast and creator have talked up the possibility of a movie. However as it was canned due to low ratings, it seemed unlikely they’d ever get the funding to do it – even if many of those people who did like the show were absolutely rabid fans.
Then along came the concept of internet crowdfunding, and so creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell decided to give that a go. As is now well known, the project hits its $2 million target in 10 hours and ended up with over $5 million in funding – and so the film version got the greenlight thanks to ordinary people putting up the cash.
Was it worth it? While the movie isn’t anything astonishing, it is entertaining and it largely manages to find the balance between answering the questions fans might have had (the show was left with quite a few unanswered questions) and ensuring newbies don’t feel like this is a club they haven’t been invited to.
Indeed the film starts with a quick précis of the series and the main characters, before letting us know that since we last saw her Veronica (Kristen Bell) has escaped her hometown of Neptune. She now has a law degree and is set to become a hotshot New York lawyer. Then she gets a call from old flame Logan (Jason Dohring), who’s the prime suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, pop star Bonnie DeVille.
Veronica agrees to head back to Neptune for a few days, initially just to help Logan find a lawyer, but once there she can’t help herself but start investigating the crime. That involves catching up with a lot of her old high school friends and discovering that the secrets of the past may have something to do with the murder in the present.
While there are moments when newbies to the Veronica Mars world might slightly wonder what some of the characters are referring to and exactly how their relationships work, it’s never too confusing and I wouldn’t be surprised if after watching the film a lot of Mars virgins will be searching out the show to take a look at Veronica’s earlier days. Fans won’t be disappointed either, as the vast majority of the original cast returns and they slot back into their roles with ease.
It also has the same mix of gumshoe grit and humour as the series, helped immensely by the fact Kristen Bell is absolutely perfect in the title role. In the series the idea of a teen private eye and some of the plots she got involved with were objectively pretty silly, but Bell absolutely sold it and she does the same here. The plot does get a little involved and there are quite a lot of characters to keep track of, but it’s a fun little murder mystery, where Veronica has to decide whether she really will go off and be a big shot lawyer or give in to her private eye addiction.
The DVD also includes a great 53-minute ‘making of…’ documentary which concentrates on the relationship between the show and its devoted fans, starting with the crowdfunding campaign and following through with those fans who got to be extras in the film and onto the massive reception the movie got at Comic Con. It’s a very entertaining documentary and well worth a look once you’ve viewed the film.
Overall Verdict: An entertaining return to the world of Veronica Mars with plenty of humour, a decent mystery and a great cast who are all obviously delighted to be back together.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac