I will start this off with a confession: I am a Marshmallow.
Now, to someone who has never watched the TV series Veronica Mars this confession will not have any meaning. To a fellow Marshmallow, it means a lot. I only became a Veronica Mars fan after meeting Kristen Bell in Hollywood back in November before the red carpet premiere of Frozen (in case you hadn’t made the connection, Veronica Mars/Kristen Bell/Anna from Frozen are all the same person). After hearing her mention the fan-driven movie that would be released soon, I came home and watched all 3 seasons of the series on Amazon Instant.
From episode one, I was hooked. I love Kristen Bell’s snarky, smart, but still-a-teenager personality. The stories are interesting; the characters engaging. I haven’t been waiting years, nor did I join in the Kickstarter campaign that finally gave this movie life, but I have been dying to see the film nonetheless.
Note: I made sure I kept this Veronica Mars movie review 100% spoiler-free, as much as I would love to discuss some of the things that happened in the movie.
The Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign (which ended on April 12, 2013) attracted 91,585 backers who donated an astounding $5,702,153 to the project. The movie was filmed over 23 days in June and July 2013 and released in theaters as well as on Amazon Instant and DVD/BluRay (pre-order) on March 14, 2014.
Here are just a few stats about the Kickstarter campaign:
- Fastest project to reach $1 million.
- Fastest project to reach $2 million.
- All-time highest-funded project in FILM category.
- Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
- Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.
When I spoke to Kristen Bell in November, we asked her about making the Veronica Mars movie, and how it felt to have such a loyal, loving fan base (even after all these years). This is what she had to say:
“It’s the most flattering thing ever, I can’t imagine anything more flattering than that. I held onto this character because I love it. But I don’t know if my views line up with everybody else’s or my tastes. I loved the show as an audience member even though I was involved in it, again, that’s weird to say, that you like like your own work. You know. But it wasn’t because of me. It was because Rob’s writing it, it was because of a feel of the show, the tone and everyone else that was involved.
“Rob and I had so many discussions because we always ask, is there going to be a Veronica Mars movie, and while we were plowing through to try to get it done, he kept saying, ‘What if we’re listening to the same twenty people that watch our Veronica Mars movie and they’re just wowing on Twitter, and we’re going to be screwed. We’re going to make eighty nine dollars and be so embarrassed’, and I was like, ‘First of all who cares, then we’ll have eighty nine dollars and we’ll make the movie. Second of all I just felt the reality is every journalist that I’ve been interviewed by in the last seven or eight years has said, Will there be a Veronica Mars movie?’”
“The response was overwhelming. It blew us out of the water. I still don’t even think it’s real. It was a great experience and everybody getting back together and we all have kids now, so it’s like, Mini Me’s running around. Mini Logan and Mini Veronica and it was just cute. And Mini Wallace.”
Mini Logan? Mini Wallace? Wondering who these people are?
A quick recap of the Veronica Mars TV show for those who haven’t seen it (totally unofficial and missing so many details. I apologize): The series starts off during Veronica’s junior year of high school, a year after her best friend, Lily Kane’s, murder. Veronica is determined to find Lily’s killer, and she uses the detective skills she has gained from her sherrif-turned-private-detective dad. The series follows Veronica through graduation and the first year of college where she tackles many smaller cases along the way (as well as the big cases/plot lines that connect the episodes). Veronica has an on-and-off relationship with Logan Echolls (played by Jason Dohring) throughout the 3 seasons – their relationship is surprising at first, but totally works – their chemistry is electric. In the end, though, they go their separate ways and she sticks with the “safe” – and totally lovable – Piz (Stosh Piznarski, played by Chris Lowell).
Now on to the movie…
The Veronica Mars Movie – official synopsis:
On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don’t seem right with how Logan’s case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.
And now for what you really want to know…
Is the Veronica Mars movie worth seeing in theaters?
First of all, I loved it. As a fan, the Veronica Mars movie was totally satisfying, with enough of what I loved about the series and a good ending.
But…the Veronica Mars movie was made FOR the fans, ie: people who know the back story (and I mean this quite literally, because of the Kickstarter campaign). I read an interview with Veronica Mars writer Rob Thomas where he confessed to the fact that the movie was made for the fans and they did not worry too much about making a movie that would draw in people who had never heard of the series.
Although the movie starts with a 2-minute recap of who Veronica is and where she is 9 years later, they don’t spend a great deal of time providing explanations for the little things said and done throughout the movie. The result? If you haven’t seen Veronica Mars, you’ll probably miss a lot and wonder why other movie-goers are clapping or shouting out at odd places. Here’s that recap:
Even as a die-hard fan who scored high on the Veronica Mars trivia, I found myself questioning who certain people were; specifically, Logan’s ex-girlfriend, Carrie Bishop, whose murder case brings Veronica back home to Neptune. Was I supposed to remember Carrie? I couldn’t recall Carrie, nor did I recognize her from the series (news flash – they used a different actress in the movie and Carrie only showed up in two episodes in the series. She was not a big player on the TV show).
In the end, would I recommend seeing Veronica Mars in theaters if you haven’t seen the series? It depends. If your Veronica Mars fan-friend is dying to see the movie, then by all means tag along. It is a good story. Don’t expect to know all of the back stories and just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Don’t have a fan-friend who needs a date? Then I’d recommend that you skip the movie until you’ve finished the series on Amazon Instant.
A quick word on the PG-13 rating: there is definitely more language in the movie than in the TV series (I expected it but didn’t love it). But neither the series nor the movie are geared towards kids…I wouldn’t recommend either one to a younger crowd.
Did you watch Veronica Mars on TV or have you seen it streaming since it went off the air in 2007? Are you planning on seeing the movie? I’d love to hear opinions and thoughts on the movie from both Veronica Mars fans and Veronica newbies. What did you think?
PS – Just to be clear, I purchased my own ticket to see the movie on opening day.
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