After the Veronica Mars show was cancelled after it’s third season in 2006, creator Rob Thomas did not give up and neither did the fans. He started a Kickstarter campaign with a $2 Million target, which they raised in a record-breaking time of just 11 hours.
Since the events of the Season 3 finale, Veronica has quit sleuthing and has moved to New York to train as a lawyer. Nine years later, things are looking up for her as she’s engaged to her college boyfriend Piz and is close to securing a job in a high-powered law firm. Then she’s contacted by her former boyfriend Logan Echolls, who’s been accused of murdering his pop-star girlfriend Bonnie DeVille, whom Veronica also knew from school.
Veronica finds herself back in her hometown of Neptune, California to help Logan get some legal advice, and also attend her high school reunion. However, she discovers important clues regarding Bonnie’s murder and has no faith in the still corrupt police department; this presents a dilemma for Veronica - return to sleuthing once more, or go back to her new life in New York and leave it all behind once and for all?
Veronica is most certainly the role Kristen Bell was born to play, she slips back into the role like she never even left. Veronica is all grownup but she’s still just as witty and sarcastic as she’s ever been, and she has no patience for idiots. She’s still just as complex as she always was, facing dilemmas with no easy answer, and she may not necessarily make the right choices.
The supporting cast of Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs III, Tina Majorino, Francis Capra, Chris Lowell and Ryan Hansen all reprise their roles from the show and are still just as great as they were. It was great to see all these excellent characters back and the film does a great job at juggling all of them in just 100 minutes.
It would’ve been nice if they could’ve had more screen time, but they all get their moments to shine. But it’s the three core characters: Veronica, Keith and Logan who get the biggest focus.
The high school reunion scene also allowed for several (then newcomers) actors who played classmates to reprise their roles, such as Kristen Ritter and Sam Huntington. Although the standout comeback was Amanda Noret as mean-girl Madison Sinclair, who hasn’t grown up one bit since school. There are also reprisals from several grown-up characters, giving the film a complete nostalgia trip for die-hard fans of the show.
The film also features excellent new additions to the cast, such as Jerry O’Connell as the corrupt sheriff, Jamie Lee Curtis as Veronica’s potential new boss, Gaby Hoffman as a crazy fan of Bonnie, and a very funny James Franco cameo as himself.
The mystery itself was fine, while it kind of takes a backseat to the characters and subplots; also the killer is pretty forgettable, there are still some good twists that involve several character revelations and leads to an intense climax. There are also subplots that involve the corrupt police department, which contains some violent moments with devastating results.
You don’t necessarily have to watch the TV show to enjoy the film, it opens with an intro monologue that brings new viewers up to speed. But it’s highly recommended that you watch it, because it’s filled with several callbacks to the show that only fans will get and it will give a better understanding of the characters.
As a movie however, this doesn’t have much of a cinematic quality, it’s mostly shot and edited like a TV-movie or a special episode. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just don’t expect it to be a big blockbuster-type, like how Serenity (2005) - based on the TV show Firefly - was. However the film does have a more mature tone than the show, mainly due to the fact that the teenage main characters are now in their late twenties.
If you love the show - the film is definitely a fun and emotional nostalgia trip that offers closure if you were underwhelmed by the show’s ending. If you’re a new viewer – it’s an enjoyable little mystery with a witty sense of humour, dark undertones and well-written characters.
Written by Jack Parish