Friday, 23 May 2014

New Movie Review: Veronica Mars (2014)

Veronica Mars: she's watching you... watching your every move...

She’s watching you… watching your every move…

Veronica Mars (2014): ★★★½

Directed by Rob Thomas

After being cancelled for low ratings, Veronica Mars has returned to the big screen via the most successful movie Kickstarter campaign of all time!

Now we have the Veronica Mars movie, written and directed by Rob Thomas, the creator and showrunner of the original series. When the movie opens Veronica has successfully escaped her childhood of being a “teenage private eye” and has been for the past nine years excelling at Harvard Law. She’s on the verge of becoming a bigshot corporate lawyer, when her past calls her (literally) to return to her hometown of Neptune, California.

Listen, I (mostly) loved Veronica Mars the series. Veronica was one of the most whip-smart, sarcastic, and engaging heroines I’d seen on TV since Buffy. Unless this movie featured all the characters acting completely out of character or dying for no good reason, there was no way I was not going to completely love it. I’m not the most impartial of reviewers.

The plot of Veronica Mars is not entirely subtle, but it never really was during the series, either. Veronica herself narrates the movie as she did the television show. It’s about Veronica returning to her hometown and trying not to get sucked back into the world she worked so hard to escape. Veronica is a woman who has come to realize all her flaws, come to grips with them, but still deep down wants to revel in them. She compares herself to an addict continually throughout the film. This whole seedy, crime-ridden, corrupt underbelly of the world is her drink of choice, though, and making that awful people get their just rewards is her perfect drug. Is she really happy having escaped that? What does she actually WANT out of her life?

The central mystery revolves eventually starts revolving around a character who was integral to the plot of an earlier episode (but who only actually appeared onscreen for a few seconds). It’s clever, but except for some raised danger towards the end, it isn’t really any more special than what you’d see in a regular episode of the TV show.

It’s great fun to catch up with all of the characters, and the reunion scene allows a handful of characters to really shine, especially Weevil, whose outcome is one of the more surprising ones in the movie in several ways. Unfortunately poor “best-friend” Wallace gets the shaft a bit, not being involved in the mystery at all and only being in a handful of scenes. He’s pushed aside by the inexorable sexual tension between Veronica and her volatile, reformed-bad-boy ex, Logan.

What will happen!? Will Veronica finally put her past behind her? Or will she discover that her past is what truly makes her happy!?

Unfortunately rather than serving as a capstone to the end of the series, this movie almost seems like the pilot to a new series. A bunch of shadowy background mysteries are raised and not solved, and the final scene of the movie seems like the start of something new (or maybe the reset to something old), not the end of everything. It might as well have “To Be Continued…” emblazoned on the screen. Honestly, it’s a little bit frustrating.

Because HOLY CRAP do I want it to be continued…

Categories: Movie Reviews.

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