Movie Review: 'Veronica Mars' (2014)

Despite having never watched an episode of “Firefly”, its film follow-up “Serenity” was an easily enjoyable, stand-alone product that welcomed new viewers. The film version of "Veronica Mars" cannot say the same. As it should be, this movie was clearly made for its commendably loyal fans and this probably won’t disappoint them.

The "Marshmallows" are a fandom that deserves to be rewarded. They have campaigned since 2007 for a continuation to their story and even funded it on Kickstarter. However, if you’re a viewer looking from the outside in, this movie can be a rather alienating experience.

As an outsider to the Marshmallow fandom and having viewed a collective, one episode of the original series, I can only judge the “Veronica Mars” movie, as a movie devoid of any television context. In this long gestating film venture, the eponymous Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) returns to Neptune, California to clear her ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring) of murder charges.

Off the bat, a wordy narration explains the ins and outs of Veronica’s mind. She is angry at the world and incredibly bitter. First-time viewers are given an hour and forty-seven minutes to get to know her and having little experience with this character, she came off strongly unlikable, a veritable brat. 

When the film opens she has a pretty nice life. She is weighing whether to take a job with one of the top law firms in New York City and she has a loving and supportive boyfriend, so there is no legitimate foundation for complaints.

When she goes back to California she dumps on her small town and caustically addresses those not within her circle, whatever constitutes being worthy to be a part of her social circle is unknown. The character traits that she puts on a pedestal are seemingly unobtainable. 

Logan is supposedly dangerous though his disposition screams he is anything but. Unfortunately, since he is the “bad boy”, he is the guy Veronica obviously yearns for over the dependable, nice, and consciousness "Piz" (Chris Lowell). The triangle the film subtly attempts never takes off because it is never even a contest and yet there is no understanding as to why.

The mystery is not particularly intriguing. The antics of its perpetration seem solely motivated to provide celebrity cameos. The resolution of the mystery doesn’t make Veronica come off as that expert of a sleuth either, given she puts the pieces together all wrong. Her cocky demeanor is especially off-putting in light of these events.

As the script echoes with sincere seriousness, the mood runs the gamut of self-effacing mind candy to a full-blown drama. The cinematography, though under-lit at times, brings a breezily seedy atmosphere to the visualization and the saucy language gives the film a daring oomph.

The cast’s chemistry was not personally apparent, and certain shticks that sounded interesting on paper, failed to be as compelling when realized on-screen. For fans, it probably feels like returning home. For this relatively new visitor, it felt like going to another planet. Rating: 6/10

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