On Second Thought: “Veronica Mars”

IMG_0265.JPGWith Television shows being cancelled left and right, it’s no wonder that die hard fans want to find an alternative way for the show to live on. For the past nine years, at least, that’s been a recurring goal for many fan bases. My memory places “Serenity” as the first major success for a beloved, but gone too soon series.

Through hard work, and a few short hours, the Warner Bros. Pictures film “Veronica Mars”, was able to become a reality and a series could live on.

This drama film stars Kristen Bell (“Parks and Recreation”, “House of Lies”), Jason Dohring (“Motive”, “The Tomorrow People”), Krysten Ritter (“Asthma”, “Listen Up Philip”), Ryan Hansen (upcoming “Play It Again, Dick”, “Bad Teacher (TV series)”), Francis Capra (“The Strain”, “NCIS: Los Angeles”), Percy Daggs III (“Murder 101”, “Q”), Gaby Hoffmann (upcoming “Wild”, “Girls”), Chris Lowell (“Enlisted”, “Brightest Star”), Tina Majorino (“Legends”, “Grey’s Anatomy”), Jerry O’Connell (“Space Station 76”, “We Are Men”), Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley”, “Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Only Human”, “New Girl”), and Enrico Colantoni (upcoming “The Mysteries of Laura”, “Remedy”).

The film was directed by Rob Thomas (upcoming “Play It Again, Dick”, upcoming “iZombie”), and written by Thomas (upcoming “Play It Again, Dick”, “iZombie”) and Diane Ruggiero (“iZombie”, “Free Agents”). It is based on the TV series “Veronica Mars” created by Thomas.

The film opened in theaters and was available on demand on March 14, 2014.

Much like was stated in the numerous interviews given, and before the Kickstarter campaign, this is a film for the fans. It didn’t try and do anything more than be just that. While that may have been the goal, it’s safe to say that this film could still appeal to the casual viewer. There’s a recap of the important events at the beginning which allows anyone to just jump straight in. Then, as would be expected, the film begins it’s own story, expanding on everything you know and going with the flow of things, as it has been nine years since the events of the third season. Not bad for a crowd funded film.

One perk, which was so great about this film, was that there is a big number of he original series cast members making appearances, including Ken Marino, Max Greenfield and Brandon Hillock. This film even saw the actualization of a previously only mentioned character named Martina Vasquez. To me, this goes to show not just how much these actors wanted to do this project, but how much the characters mean to the fans, even if you see them for a few minutes.

Interestingly this film also had fun cameos from the aforementioned Curtis and O’Connell. It’s been making me wonder why they chose to take part in this film? There’s also appearances by Bell’s husband, Dax Shepard, James Franco, and Justin Long. Even Ira Glass of “This American Life” radio program.

As stated above, this is a film for the fans, and I must say, it didn’t disappoint. While I understand the sentiment of it basically being one long “Veronica Mars” episode, that’s fine. I couldn’t imagine a different format given the simple premise. The way this film unspooled gave the writers and viewers plenty of time to get reacquainted with the town and the characters, new and old. The story also allowed for genuine surprises. Getting caught up in the events wasn’t hard, especially when there’s witty banter to keep things going. However, at the end of the day, one needed a story that not only led to the mystery being solved, but also a way to show that there’s still some creativity left. The drama that was inevitable was able to come about and not be awkward, because of some sort of forced nature. The fact that this film takes place nine years later, already allowed for a lot of stories to come and creative ways to allow for some closure. While I feel like we got a bit of closure, the way the film ended signals continuing series.

Fortunately there’s now the book “The Thousand Dollar Tan Line”, and another coming out next year to keep fans happy. Just another creative way to keep a series going after it’s been cancelled, much like with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. However, as much as we may like this, it makes me wonder, why do we cancel some series so soon, only to give them new life later? With “Veronica Mars”, the network made that call too early.

The acting wasn’t bad, but it was also nothing special. This is fine as the writing for the characters, not to mention the plot was that of what you’d find in the series itself. Anyone who’s seen it would not be displeased. They certainly got what they’d asked for and expected. The bit of the acting that was perfect was that even though these characters had a lot of time to change, if they did, they were still the same characters from the series. Not only did they go through nine years, but fans went through a lengthy time gap, and change, as well. Made for a pleasant experience and a fun film.

With reviving shows some new craze, one can only hope that the new product delivers. This film went the extra mile, by not just having Thomas write and direct, but by bringing in Ruggiero, who wrote many season three episodes. Luckily, Josh Kramon (“How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)”, “Party Down”), who scored the series, returned to give the same musical treatment for the feature film. Probably, not since “Serenity” have I seen a film revival deliver on everything it promised. Mind you, I wasn’t paying attention to “Serenity” when it came out in theaters, so the level of excitement wasn’t the same. One can only wonder if another series could ever become a movie and do even mildly well? Since it’s not an option I’d give for each cancelled series, time will only tell.


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