Starring Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Chris Lowell
Countless television shows have been adapted into major motion pictures. Sure, transitioning from a series to a single two hour format can prove a challenge with all the vast episode history, characters and plot lines. The X Files films were a perfect example of a good transition to a standalone film. Veronica Mars, based on the cult mystery show created by Rob Thomas, was Murder She Wrote for a modern, teenage audience. While the show ended six years ago, the film was “Kickstarted” in a high profile way by fans, with over six million dollars before Warner jumped in. For the fans and from the fans, Veronica Mars certainly aims to please, as a knowledge of the series, which began in 2004, is certainly required viewing.
Having left the corrupt town of Neptune, Veronica Mars (Bell) has put her life as a teenage private eye behind her. Now she is interviewing at prestigious law firms until her legendary old flame Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is accused of murdering his recording artist girlfriend. Believing his innocence, Mars returns to her old stomping ground for just a few days to help Logan’s case. Since , the town has gotten even Veronica has been gone, Neptune has become even more unsafe. Two days turn into weeks as Mars and her friends from the old days discover there are a lot of secrets that need uncovering, not to mention Mars’s inability to walk away from the man she is still so connected to, even as he faces murder charges.
For a non-fan, non-watcher, it felt more like a cheap soap opera with a murder mystery, which includes car crashes, corruption and of course a love triangle.
Knowing nothing about the show, its origins or premise, the excitement for the premiere of Veronica Mars at SXSW made the jokes and inside knowledge fly even higher over my head. The film was shot in about 23 days, and as a film, it certainly looks and feels that way. Thomas, who wrote and directed the film, tries to utilize various plot lines from the past, bringing back what felt like every boyfriend Mars had dated throughout the series that was canceled in 2007. Those characters, in combination with the new ones and the many cameos (including James Franco, Jamie Lee Curtis), feel like an overstuffed two hour sweeps episode event instead of a feature film.
Veronica Mars does open with a brief re-history of the show, as we see Bell morph from a 20-something to a mature woman that seems far too old to be acting like this spunky-brewster type. For a non-fan, non-watcher, it felt more like a cheap soap opera with a murder mystery, which includes car crashes, corruption and of course a love triangle. However, this isn’t a film for the average ticket buyer; this is for the fans, and Thomas doesn’t even attempt to bring in a new generation, because the show is over, Bell’s career is on fire, and no one here is going back to restart the series.
A film for the fans of the show, and no one else.