Friday, March 28, 2014

VERONICA MARS: A Fan-Funded Big Screen Reunion Special

Now playing in Raleigh at the Colony Theater...

VERONICA MARS (Dir. Rob Thomas, 2014)

Earlier this year, I made my way through all three seasons of Veronica Mars, which ran on the basic cable channels UPN and The CW from 2004-2007. I found the show, concerning a teenage private detective played with smart-alecky precision by Kristen Bell, to be a clever, witty, and very enjoyable mystery series.

A legion of fans who call themselves “Marshmallows” thought so too, enough to contribute $5.7 million to a Kickstarter campaign launched by Bell and series creator Rob Thomas to assist in producing a big screen follow-up, which is now playing in Raleigh at the Colony Theater and available worldwide on Video on Demand.
The movie version of VERONICA MARS, scripted by Thomas, advances the story ahead so that it’s almost a decade since the show ended, with Bell now living in New York, interviewing for investigator positions at prestigious law firms, and involved in a serious relationship with Chris Lowell, reprising his part as “Piz” her college love interest from the third season of the series.
Despite a lofty job offer from one of the most high-end firms, Bell treks back to her home town, the fictional Neptune, because of a phone call from her ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls (a very skinny Jason Dohring, also returning) asking for her help because he’s yet again accused of murder.
This is conveniently timed for the 10 year reunion of our heroine’s graduating class at Neptune High (that's why they skipped a few years ahead), so the scene is perfectly set for the appearance of more former cast members including Percy Daggs III as Bell’s best friend Wallace, Francis Capra as the now reformed biker badass Weevil, Tina Majorino as the computer savvy “Mac,” Ryan Hansen as the air-headed horny surfer Dick Casablancas, and Max Greenfield (New Girl) as a former Neptune deputy, and a former love interest of Veronica’s.
Also back is one of my favorite characters from the show, Veronica’s father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), still operating as a private investigator.
The ins and outs of the mystery involving the murder of Dohring’s pop star girlfriend, another former fellow Neptune High student, are a little too tricky and Spoiler-filled to go into, so I’ll just cut to what fans are more interested in – the love triangle made up of Veronica, “Piz,” and Logan.
Lowell’s “Piz” is the nice safe guy that Veronica should be with, but the edgy darkness of Dohring’s Logan is obviously who the film and fans are rooting for, otherwise “Piz” would’ve been given at least one scene in to shine. Girls, even incredibly smart ones like our Veronica, always go for the bad boys, right?
VERONICA MARS may ultimately be just an extended episode writ large, as its production values aren’t that much improved from the show’s, but folks who’ve never seen the program before may still find it to be a fun snazzy thriller.

Critics are complaining that the MARS movie is a fans-only affair, but I disagree. I believe that much like the first X-Files film back in 1998, this film can function as both as an intro for newbies and an update for the hardcore.

It also sets itself up neatly for a possible sequel, but I'm hoping if they continue the adventures of Veronica Mars they'll return to the small screen. That's where her smart sassy self really belongs.

More later...

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