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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

“Veronica Mars”: Is There Still Life On Mars?

It’s been 7 years since we left our blonde teenage private investigator (played by the lovely Kristen Bell) wandering through the rain in Southern California; and after a record setting Kickstarter campaign only a year ago, show creator Rob Thomas and the cast brought her back to us for a cheap (by movie standards) fan-funded price tag of just over $5.7 million dollars. That amount seems daunting—however, when you consider the pressure it put on all of them to create a movie the fans would love.

That said–we, as Marshmallows (the term for the Veronica Mars fan base), didn’t want to hog Veronica to ourselves. We wanted to welcome new fans to Neptune, California–the home of the teen P.I.–but we knew there was a risk in doing so. The movie, which was being made for us, would have to have mass appeal that could compromise Thomas’s steely vision to give the fans what they want. So, forgive me if I was nervous going into the theatre on Friday night, surrounded by a surprisingly large crowd of fellow fans and their naive-to-Neptune friends and family.

The Cast of Veronica Mars at Comic Con (credit: Crave Online)

As any good movie reviewer would, I won’t spoil any essential details of the film or the show. Nothing you can’t glean from watching the trailer at least. That said, let’s talk about what we knew the movie had to have. It needed to bring back some of our favourite characters and remind us of how great Veronica’s relationship with them is: Veronica’s twin love interests—troubled but brooding Logan Echolls (played by Jason Dohring) and too-good-to-be-true Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (playing by Chris Lowell of Fox’s Enlisted), as well as her dad with whom she has such a great chemistry, Keith Mars (played by Flashpoint‘s Enrico Colantoni). Moreover, there’s her ragtag group of friends including basketball star, Wallace Fennell (Percy Daggs III); computer geek, Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Tina Majorino); shamed rich girl, Gia Goodman (Krysten Ritter); bad biker boy, Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra); and Logan’s bestie Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen), and we got all that.

Another essential of the show was a great mystery for Veronica solve that puts her in danger and puts her best P.I. skills to the test including interrogating witnesses, spying and snooping, some camerawork and impersonating others—all of which we got. So the film gave the fans the basics to satisfy their nostalgic hearts, but how did the plot, the story and the writing hold up more objectively? I’d say quite well. I was worried at the outset of how Thomas’s season-long mysteries would translate into a two-hour long film. Would he introduce new characters and pin the crime on them or implicate someone we already knew? I won’t disclose that information, but what I will say is that the film keeps you guessing with red herrings and little nuances that, in typical Thomas style, pull the rug out from under your feet just when you think you know what’s coming. The climax of the film delivers a satisfying punch and had me clinging to my seat, hoping for Veronica to come out on top.

veronica mars

Credit: Warner Brothers

In addition to all of that, the film is filled with great humour and great heart. Part of what has made the show such a cult hit is that the character of Veronica is written as a strong and overwhelmingly sharp role model for young girls but without raising her to the level of an unbelievable parody. Bell and the cast breathe life into the characters in such a way that could easily carry a film, but Thomas made sure they had plenty to work with. The movie takes place several years in the future, which leaves a lot of time for things to have happened to our colourful cast of characters. As for Veronica – she’s on the verge of graduating law school (like myself) and is poised to take a job at a big law firm in New York City, but she is quickly pulled away from that comfortable life with college boyfriend Piz when Logan’s celebrity girlfriend is murdered back in California. She flies there to help him get a lawyer and, in the process, gets entangled in the mystery. It all sounds cliché and I was worried it would be, that Thomas was playing on a tried-and-tired trope that wasn’t going to yield that kind of film that could satisfy fans and newcomers alike, but the added twist, as always is the film-noir style mystery that was so key to the shows own originality. Amidst the stereotypical high school reunion is still the old Veronica we know and love, trying to get to the bottom of something much darker and, I believe it was her compelling character that drew newcomers in and had them laughing, gasping and feeling sad just like the rest of us. Moreover, the characters and the film matured with the audience and that, to me, was what made it far more than just a self-indulgent trip down memory lane.

I truly hope, whether you’re a fellow Marshmallow or not, you get to the see the film in the next few days. Thomas has already said that if the film yields box office success Warner Brothers has not ruled out the possibility of funding a sequel and he already has a book series in the works—the first of which can be ordered on Amazon already. The film has, perhaps, benefited from the unpredictable media of being the first Kickstarter major motion picture, but perhaps it won’t be the last. Truly though, as Thomas has also said, the success of the film must be measured in the reaction of the fans and I can honestly say that this writer is one happy Marshmallow.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, we have a Veronica Mars contest going on (US residents only)—check it out here!

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