On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) 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.
A long time ago, we used to be friends, but I haven’t thought of you lately at all. That is until about a year ago, ‘Veronica Mars‘ creator Rob Thomas and Veronica herself, Kristen Bell took to the crowd-funder website Kickstarter and asked us fans of the amazing TV show ‘Veronica Mars‘ to fund a feature film. Warner Bros. told Bell and Thomas that if they successfully funded the $2 million dollar budget, that they would match that and distribute and market the movie.
Well, less than 24 hours after Thomas and Bell launched the Kickstarter page, they had successfully funded their film. Not only that, but by the end of the Kickstarter Fund, they had raised more than $5 million. So us fans have now received a full fledged ‘Veronica Mars‘ movie with almost every character from the show coming back. And I’m super psyched to report that the ‘Veronica Mars‘ movie is everything I hoped it could be and more. It was just fantastic, with every nuance, detail, homage, wink, and high-five from the series showing up in the film. That being said, in order to truly benefit from and enjoy this film, you most likely should have watched the original three seasons.
Because if you didn’t, then you might find yourself lost in the middle of an inside joke that you don’t understand, and will wonder why everyone around you is laughing and smiling. But that was the point of this film. It was for the fans with the small hope that it would create new fans of the characters. As a critic, it’s a little difficult to review a movie like this, because on one hand, I loved it so much and can’t wait to watch it over and over again. But maybe that’s because I’m such a huge fan of the show. On the other hand, there are plenty of flaws that might turn non-fans away.
I’m going to stick with my original statement. ‘Veronica Mars: The Movie’ is amazing as Thomas and Bell deliver the goods on every level. The film is set ten years later, as we have our iconic and witty character Veronica Mars interviewing for a job as a high-powered attorney in New York City. She went to the best schools and has worked hard to get where she is which is in front of Jamie Lee Curtis, one of the heads of the firm. After the awkward, witty, and successful interview, she heads to the studio of ‘This American Life‘ where Ira Glass makes an appearance, and where Veronica’s boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell) works to tell him about the interview.
She then sees on a television on the wall, a news story that says a girl from her high-school was found murdered and that Logan Echols (Jason Dohring) is the suspect. As soon as the news story finishes, Veronica’s phone rings with Logan asking Veronica for help on the other line. Next thing you know, we are back in Neptune, California, and Veronica tells us that it has been nine years since she has seen or spoken to Logan.
Logan seems to clean up his life for the most part, as he is a jet pilot for the army and when he is on leave, spends it with Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen), who is as funny as ever and is doing what you’d expect him to be doing ten years later, which is living in a cool house on the beach, watching porn, drinking alcohol, and surfing. Meanwhile, Veronica’s friends Mac (Tina Majorino) and Wallace (Percy Daggs III) are working in Neptune and are pretty successful. They show up to welcome Veronica back for a few days and to convince her to go to their ten year high-school reunion.
Veronica’s dad is still a P.I. and the evil Sheriff Lamb has been replaced by his younger brother played by Jerry O’Connell. And let’s not forget about Weevil (Frances Capra) who seems to have turned his life around and has a great family now. Basically, you’re gonna get everyone you want in this movie in some form or fashion. But it’s not all smiles in Neptune, as we’ve come to know when Veronica is solving a case, which is murder this time around. Rob Thomas gives us a fantastic story with lots of twists and turns to keep us guessing, complete with that witty and fast dialogue that we have come to love from the television show. He also gives us each character in a way that we have wanted to see them for ten years, no matter how small their role was in the series. It’s quite a fun couple of hours.
But Rob Thomas has mostly worked in television, and not too much in the feature film arena. And it shows. The film is shot like a long TV episode that doesn’t always transfer well onto the big screen. Thomas also leaves a few things very open ended, as if he didn’t have enough money to finish the project, or was leaving something else for a sequel. But the way it’s done is awkward as shown when certain characters pop up and do something drastic and are never heard from again. It just didn’t make a lot of sense. But other than those few things, the film is perfect for fans of the show. It gives us everything we wanted right on down to the theme song. If you’re a fan of ‘Veronica Mars‘, this is the movie you’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t disappoint at all.
'Veronica Mars: The Movie' comes with a good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Overall, the image looks very good, but it has a certain flatness to it. The image never really pops off screen, which may be attributed to most of the scenes being shot at night or in low lit scenes. The detail is mostly sharp, especially in the brighter scenes which reveal passable textures and good closeups, however nothing truly stands out.
Colors are well-saturated and have a warm and earthy tone to them, with tons of browns, yellows, and greens throughout. The skin tones look natural and the black levels are deep. The picture almost has a filmic look to it, but with no grain to speak of. While this video presentation is definitely good, it won't wow anyone, as it receives a passing grade, but not an A+. There are no compression issues, banding, or aliasing to speak of.
This release comes with a decent enough lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix, but it never lives up to its full potential like it should. For being a somewhat action-noir film, I expected a better surround sound track. Instead, this is mostly a front heavy mix that never really peaks at any moment, with the exception of when the soundtrack kicks in. Even during the reunion party scene at a club or at the after party, things sound too reserved for my liking.
Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, but there isn't much directionality to it. The sound effects sound realistic, but don't pack a punch or even a kick. The soundtrack and score sounds full when it is the prominent track being heard, but it won't rattle any walls. Even the gun shots and motorcycles don't sound powerful enough to startle you. That being said, this audio presentation is passable and does its job, but I expected more.
By The Fans: The Making of the Veronica Mars Movie (HD, 56 mins.) - A great hour long making of documentary. With interviews with the cast, crew, Kickstarter backers, critics, and others, we journey from the first day of the Kickstarter campaign to fund the movie all the way to the release of the finished product and everything in between. You will also get a glimpse of some on-set footage and some information on how they shot some of the scenes. This is an excellent and fun extra that is required viewing.
Behind The Scenes: More On-Set Fun (HD, 20 mins.) - A six part extra, which does not have a 'Play All' feature. Here are more interviews with the cast and crew with even more on-set footage ranging from a prank on set to the cameos in the film, and even some more interviews with some of the Kickstarter backers.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 5 mins.) - A few worthwhile deleted scenes that might cause you to chuckle, but were left out due to pacing and timing.
Gag Reel (HD, 5 mins.) - Your standard extra of flubbed lines, laughs, and other fun hijinks on set.
I'm a huge 'Veronica Mars' fan and I've been wanting more Veronica Mars since the show ended years ago. With this film, I got everything I wanted and more. If you haven't seen the television series, might be lost on some of the inside jokes, but none-the-less, you'll have a great time with it and will possibly want to catch up on the show. But if you're a fan, this is the movie you have been waiting for. The video and audio are passable, but not excellent. The extras are a lot of fun and informative. I highly recommend this release.