It’s hard to not have an opinion.
During our everyday lives we take in so much information that it’s impossible for someone to not form some type of opinion. From TV shows to the weather everyone knows what they like and what they hate.
So it’s rare to be put in a situation where you go into something like a film with no real opinion.
For me, Veronica Mars was one of those situations.
While I’m not unaware of the series existence, my knowledge begins and ends with a glance.
It’s a show about a young Private Eye, who along with her father and friends, take down drug dealers, murders and other lawbreakers alike.
To Mars virgins like myself the series looks like; two parts Nancy Drew with a laptop and one part teen drama.
I’ve seen little to no footage of the show and what I’ve watched was mostly from promos on UPN during WWE Smackdown airings.
So when my good friend and VMars fan, Denis, asked me if I was interested in seeing the Veronica Mars film I jumped at the chance to see something cold.
And to be frank, it was a bad idea.
Despite my enjoyment of the film there was a lot that went over my head.
So while this isn’t really a review I wanted to point out some of the things that I noticed about the film and the franchise as a whole.
I have no idea who anyone is…great.
So this one is straightforward. The majority of the film features dialogue between characters with three seasons of back-story. All of which I have no knowledge of. So when Veronica returns to her old stomping grounds of Neptune, California to help her friend/former love interest Logan Echolls I was lost right away.
While the lack of backstory was jarring at several moments, the film’s narration by the titular character ended up not only naming the characters but giving a few words to describe said person.
Little nods like that end up helping both new fans and older ones whom might be a little rusty on the particulars of the cast. These bits of exposition have the added bonus of not standing out due to the films narration style (I’ll get into that later).
However, when it comes to the mystery side of the film, knowledge of the series is defiantly needed.
As the film progresses old characters are brought in to help Mars in her investigation along the way. The verbal jousting that happens was hilarious for the fans in the theatre but mostly fell on confused ears for myself (duh).
That being said there were a number of lines that were just straight up funny and land in the appropriate spots. Well played Mars, well played indeed.
The Cast is huge.
Before seeing said film, I took a quick look at the films Wikipedia page to get an idea of the films production, mostly it’s history with Kickstarter.
While I was there, I saw that the page listed 25 main cast memebers. Add onto that the six other actors that make cameos and this cast is large to say the least.
This is to be expected as the show must have introduced a number of characters over the course of the three seasons and the crew wanted to involve as many of them as they could.
What makes this strange is that a few of them have moved onto other projects that have made them more famous.
The three that stood out to me most where; Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint), Krysten Ritter (the pushed and eventually cancelled Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23), and Sam Huntington (Being Human remake and the awful Dylan Dog film).
It’s odd to come into something cold and notice so many faces for different projects. Sadly, Colantoni didn’t have to negotiate a hostage situation during the film.
Must James Franco be in this?
So without giving away much, James Franco is in this film (you could tell from the section above). He plays himself and is more or less a joke.
Only the joke is that he couldn’t fit into jeans, not that he was in Fly Boys (or insert any other Franco film in here).
I’ve never really got the joke when it comes to Franco, he’s been in good movies (yes, I’d call Rise of the Planet of the Apes good) but he seems to be a sudo-rockstar due to his F-U attitude and his stupid hair cut.
Or maybe I’m still angry about Spider-Man 3, who knows?
Either way his appearance as a celebrity seemed kind of dated for a film released in 2014. But maybe he was a fan of the show and wanted to be in the film, I don’t know.
The plot is a bit too busy.
The majority of the film is based upon Mars and her investigation however, near the end a side story appears.
While side stories are common in films and TV series this one felt more like it was a way of giving characters something to do while the film was going in a different direction.
This whole other story revolves heavily upon the corruption in the small town and while there are some bad cops shown, the film chooses not to focus on it until it’s needed later in the movie.
The conflict feels more like something that could have happen over the course of a new season, but was heavily rushed to fit into the feature film.
Maybe the plot point was recycled from the cancelled TV series, I don’t know but it felt like it needed to be tweaked in order to fit properly into the film.
The films biggest strength is its narration.
While this might be an odd thing to point out it became clear to me that the narration done by Kristen Bell was the most charming part of the film.
The writing is tight and shows off the characters personality and moves the plot along in the process.
From what I can gather from conversations with Denis, the show takes it’s inspiration from pulp detective novels. Mars’ narration fits well into that type of world due in no small part due to not only the writing but Bell’s strong delivery.
Over the years I’ve read many a list that stated that Mars was one of the most loveable characters in TV and it’s clear why. It’s hard not to smile when Bell’s narration fills in the scenery.
I almost hate to say it but for I was more than a little charmed by Miss Mars and her verbiage.
It feels like a good send off.
While Bell has stated that she’s interested in playing the character again, the film felt like it had a great deal of closure.
The series comes full circle and allowed Mars to show off her detective skills one more time to the fans that had missed her and the show for the seven years.
While some might want another season out of this franchise, it might be best to leave things alone.
But if NBC and Heroes has taught me anything, they probably won’t.
Overall the film was fun and didn’t insult new viewers.
Despite having not watched an episode of the original series or having any context for the plot and dialoged I can still say that Veronica Mars is a solid film.
It’s funny, fast and has an overall charm that’ll make you crack a smile.
It also didn’t insult my intelligence unlike another film that I saw that day. I’m looking at you Need For Speed.
While these two films are extremely different from one another, I ended up seeing both films with the same expectations, none.
Where NFS came off as just another Fast and Furious clone with an even worse plot (and that saying something) VMars was good and didn’t overstay it’s welcome.
For fans it’s definitely a trip down memory lane. New comers might be confused but it could be the kick that they need to dig up the series on Amazon.
Veronica Mars was produced by Warner Bros. Digital and Spondoolie Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is based upon the show of the same name created by Rob Thomas.