A review by a guy who actually never saw the original Veronica Mars!

In some ways, I am the worst person to watch the Veronica Mars film. After all, I have never watched the television show on which the film is based—or do I know anything about it. I am probably NOT the typical person who would go to see the movie. I also am probably not in the target audience, as I am nearing 50. However, on the other hand, there are LOTS of people who didn’t watch the show—and in many ways, this film is for them. Fortunately, you do NOT need to be a fan of the series to understand what is happening in the film. The beginning did a good job of catching the viewer up on the character—so if you are drug along to the movie by a friend who LOVES the series, you don’t need to worry about feeling lost.

Veronica Mars
Directed by
Rob Thomas
Cast
Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni
Release Date
14 March 2014
Martin’s Grade: C

When the film begins, you learn that Veronica has left her home town of Neptune and gone off to college—where she was a super-high achiever. She’s about to begin working for a high-power New York law firm when the film begins—as she’ a recent graduate of the top schools and with top grades. However, when her ex-boyfriend is arrested for murder, Veronica cannot sit back and let the case work itself out—particularly since she knows how corrupt her old local police force is. So, she puts her job offer on hold and heads home. Soon, she begins to detect a pattern—other old classmates have also died and there might be some conspiracy afoot. But, instead of letting the police or her father investigate, she springs back in to action—like, apparently, the Veronica Mars of old who cannot resist a mystery.


I noticed that People Magazine this week did a quick review of the film. They described by saying ‘this is basically a deluxe reunion episode’. I would agree that it could easily have been a made for TV movie and has that look. However, as a lover of classic Hollywood films, I see it also as being very much like a B-mystery series—such as Charlie Chan or the Falcon—and with many of the same old clichés that were common in the 1930s and 40s. Now this is NOT meant as a criticism—more of a comment about the style of the plot. So, if you remove the very hip music and hipster dialog, you have so many elements that are familiar to fans of the mystery genre.

There is the inexplicable confession that comes from one of the conspirators near the end of the film, a heroine who commits break-ins and a huge confrontation scene where the heroine attacks and temporarily subdues the evil killer—yet doesn’t pick up his gun! All these clichés are very old and very familiar…very. However, it’s how all this is packaged that is unusual. Some may adore the self-possessed narration and coolness of the film—and it obviously is trying to appeal to younger audiences (I’d guess in the 16-30 range in particular). As for me, it was okay—and the story reasonably engaging and interesting. My verdict, strictly for the uninitiated like me, is that while I would not rush to the theater to see this one, it is a pleasant time-passer and you won’t dislike the film.

I see it more as a film to watch when it comes out on DVD. However, this does not apply to the fans of the old show—they most likely will love it. After all, their show is back—the amazingly successful culmination of a HUGE Kickstarter campaign—one that set records for how much and how quickly it was funded! These folks will certainly enjoy the film…and look forward to the “Untitled Veronica Mars Spinoff” currently listed as being in the works (at least according to IMDB). I hope that Kirsten Bell will have time to do this—she has been a very busy and successful actress since appearing on this cult TV show.

Review by Lead Entertainment Writer and Film Critic, Martin Hafer