As a Veronica Mars fan, I was uber-excited about seeing the long-awaited movie last Friday, especially since I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get a ticket to see it in an actual cinema. And seeing as many people may not have seen it still, here I provide you with a spoiler-free review. I’ll even try to keep it free of spoilers for those of you who are yet to finish (or even start) watching the original TV series.
I actually only started watching Veronica Mars about 6 months ago after I heard about all the success it had had on Kickstarter. So it’s a given that I wasn’t one of the many who actually funded the movie, but after falling in love with the show, I wished I was. I had heard of Veronica Mars before, but never really taken any interest in it because I really didn’t know anything about it. I was only 13-15 years old when Veronica Mars was originally on TV, so I don’t think it wasn’t really aimed at me. I do vaguely remember seeing ads for it though. But since the moment I started watching it recently, I loved practically every minute of it. It latched onto my deep seeded fantasies of being a spy or a detective, or even a pirate (“Ahoy!”). One other thing to note about my opinions and knowledge going into this movie is I’ve not really chosen a side in the Logan vs Piz battle for Veronica’s love, as I feel we only ever got a very small sampling of the kind of person Piznarski really is.
I got to the cinema really early, and as I was waiting around outside Hoyts in the city, I noticed a few things about the crowd. Firstly, they were mainly women. I’d say the majority of them were at least in their 30s, which makes sense; They would’ve been in their 20s when the show originally aired. The other thing I noticed was that about 10-20% of them were wearing the Kickstarter-exclusive t-shirts, although I only saw one of the two available designs being worn. I can’t believe that some people arrived up to 30 minutes late, and there were people walking in and out the whole time! I couldn’t stand to have missed a moment.
I saw an interview with Rob Thomas in the lead up to this movie, in which he said that he’s tried to keep it thin on references to stuff that happened in the TV show. He said he wanted it to be accessible to newcomers and not confuse them. In my opinion, he’s failed in that respect. It’s a total lie to say you can walk into this without prior knowledge, and fully grasp or enjoy this film. There are just way too many references to old characters and events that would totally distract and perplex a newcomer. Despite that, they’re worth it. All those references and reappearances of old friends and foes are an important part of what makes this movie so good. You only need to hear the reactions people were making in the cinema during those moments to know how great they were. If you’ve seen the cancelled pilot for what would’ve been season 4 of Veronica Mars, which no longer is part of the official continuity, you may notice the funny little reference to it. If you’re also a Freaks & Geeks fan, there’s a mini-reunion for that in here too!
This movie certainly earns its M rating. There’s probably as much bad stuff (violence, swearing, drugs & sex) in this movie as in a whole season of the show. Not only does it make it a bit more shocking, but it also makes it much more intense. In fact, in a lot of ways, this movie is like a whole season of Veronica Mars distilled down to a 107 minute movie. The amount of shocks, twists and intense thriller scenes really wake you back up, just as the movie’s starting to settle into what seems to be a few well-worn paths. The adrenaline rush you get from watching those intense scenes is like watching all of the season climaxes for the first time, at the same time. There are so many twists and turns, really, you could call it overkill.
Without spoiling anything, I’d just like to say that I’m really happy to see that Veronica has finally learned from some of her past thriller moments. It always annoyed me that such a smart girl never seemed to bothered to plan out confrontations. What else are you going to do while you’re hiding in a closet? You know something bad is about to happen, so why don’t you get ready, rather than being taken by surprise like every other time. In fact, this time she even does something really clever, so good on her!
Probably the biggest problem I have though is the pacing. In typical Veronica Mars style, the film is choked full of mystery and mystique, which is rushed through, while various clues and information are hurled at you faster than you can comprehend any of it. Which leaves me with a complete lack of clarity as to what exactly is going on. It doesn’t help that some of the core characters that the storyline revolves around are dredged out of a memorable, but easily-forgotten episode from the first season. That said, in my opinion, this is typical of Veronica Mars. It’s always been fast, and lacking in clarity, not because the details aren’t necessarily given, but because they’re given in such rapid-fire occurrences or in subtle moments, that it’s hard to catch them all! I’d need to watch it very carefully and with a pause button at the ready to be able to follow everything that’s going on. Or at the very least, see it a few more times…
It’s pretty clear that Samsung must’ve forked out some big bucks to have such prominent product-placement in this movie. Important parts of the story line even revolve around their products, although it’s done in a totally tasteful, modern-world fearing sort of way. While rather far-fetched (in a way, at least), I enjoyed the technologically-driven plot. There’s even a shout-out to Sun Microsystems. But it isn’t the only great part. The way Keith and Veronica interact is a real highlight of this movie. It feels so real and accurate; it brings so much of the ridiculous situation back down to a believable level.
I’m not sure what I can say about the ending without spoiling anything ; I’m not sure that I like it. I only like it in that I don’t feel it’s really an ending at all. There were a lot of allusions throughout the voice-over and final scenes that this isn’t the end of the story of Veronica Mars. That could be because there’s a book (which I have preordered) on the way! Some of the things that they did at the end felt like they were done just to make a short-sighted point, and really didn’t make all that much sense. Many things really aren’t very well explained. It’s just wrapped up, and we’re told that everything’ll be okay (sort of). And they never even told us who won the election at the end of season three!!
Like a Marvel movie, there are two bonuses waiting for those who endure the credits. First, there’s a funny clip after the initial credits roll, but if you wait till the very end you’ll get to hear the latest of Logan’s famous outgoing voicemail messages.
If you were a big Veronica Mars fan back in the day, you’ll definitely want to see this (and you’ll probably already know that). If you use to be a bit of a Veronica Mars fan, but went off it a bit towards the end or in the intervening years, this film may just reignite your flame. If you really wished there had been just one more Veronica Mars episode, this’ll do it for you. If you never liked the off-again, on-again, off-again relationships in Veronica’s life, you may not enjoy this so much. That said, if you cared enough to be annoyed by it, then this movie is probably for you.
It’s not a perfect movie, by any means. It’s not even a perfect Veronica Mars ending. Really, it’s a new beginning for Veronica, wherever she may live on now: in books, a new TV/Internet series, or simply in our imaginations. It’s here to ease some of the pain many have felt missing Veronica for so many year. And for them, it’s just a Band-Aid. I really enjoyed it, and would love to see it again, so I can hopefully comprehend it a bit better this time. And I look forward to see where Veronica turns up next.
Have you seen the Veronica Mars movie? Are you a fan from back in the day? What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comment below, or on Facebook.
To Infinity and Beyond,
Stuff You May Find Interesting:
It’s a Testament To Veronica Mars…
Veronica Mars Digital Download is a #!$#@^#!% for Kickstarter Backers
How Veronica Mars Fans Ruined the Movie Reboot for Everyone Else
Paul Feig: What Would’ve Happened to Every Character in Freaks and Geeks’ Lost Second Season
Which Veronica Mars Character Are You?
Yes, I am…