Printer Friendly Version
Director: Rob Thomas
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Percy Daggs III, Ryan Hansen and Tina Majorino
4.00 out of 5.00
Movie Review — “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 3/26/2014
It started with a video that appeared on a crowd funding website just under a year ago: A proposal to produce an official “Veronica Mars” movie—with all the major cast and show creator involved—if enough money could be raised.
What creator Rob Thomas anticipated soon exceeded his expectations as the fandom of 91,000 “Marshmallows” (a nickname for adoring fans of the show) contributed more than $5 million to the project and set the world of crowd funding into a viable monetary alternative in the business of filmmaking. Thomas not only made good on his promise of a film, but also, less than a year after the announcement, has given fans something made solely for them and their love for the sleuthing Veronica.
In the movie, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) has moved on from the seedy surroundings of Neptune, Calif. She is leading a successful life in New York and on the verge of landing a job as a lawyer with a high profile company. However, a phone call from her ex-boyfriend Logan Echols (Jason Dohring) changes her plans, as he has been accused of murder. Veronica, already turning down an invitation to her 10-year high school reunion, returns to Neptune to help Logan find an attorney. Things don’t seem quite right in Neptune or with Logan’s case, leading Veronica to encounter the past she wanted to leave behind.
Three seasons was all the television show was given, but what it was able to accomplish in its short turn left an impression. It was a combination of smart teenage melodrama and crafty crime noir.
Thomas didn’t waste any time letting the audience know what they were getting into. Clearly within the first 15 minutes of the film, those unfamiliar with the narrative style and show pacing would be lost, though the fans would feel right at home. Thomas understood who the film was marketed for, layering inside jokes and nostalgic show material to merge throughout the course of the film. Whether the comfortable introduction of Veronica’s sidekicks Wallace (Percy Daggs III) and Mac (Tina Majorino) or the swoon-inducing appearance of Logan, everything started off with familiar tones and the identifying show charm.
This trip down memory lane would eventually need to shift into a storyline, and in true “Veronica Mars” style this meant a few twists and turns in the mystery. While the major arching plot involving Logan being wanted for murder worked nicely in framing the narrative of the characters, some of the subplots were brushed aside while at other times certain scenes felt like an excuse for cameos. A scene with James Franco, playing himself, was forced and Veronica’s New York relationship with late third season character Piz (Chris Powell) was unconvincing once Logan meets Veronica at the airport. Thomas didn’t spend a wealth of time on these faults but rather quickly treaded over them and returned back to the characters that Mars’ fans admire most.
What was most notable about this film was the strength of the material that paved the way for it. Three seasons and Veronica Mars left an enduring mark on television. Although Veronica’s motives for returning to Neptune—now that she has grown into the intellectual, independent woman we all knew she’d become—may not be completely reasonable, Thomas understood this character and made it work into something fans will love and remember as the proper sendoff to their beloved show.