Most if not all of you probably know the story of Veronica Mars—the little cult TV show that made good this weekend when, after 7 years of waiting and one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever, the Veronica Mars Movie hit theater screens all over the country.
But to recap in more depth, for those of you who’ve been living under a rock, Veronica Mars was a cult TV show in the early 2000s. Pitched as “teen noir,” the first season centered around young private investigator/high schooler Veronica Mars as she tried to solve the murder of her BFF Lilly Kane and make it through the dog eat dog world of high school intact. In that first season, Veronica also fell for the late Lilly’s bad boy ex Logan Echolls. (And so one of my favorite OTPs* was born.) The show met an early and tragic death when the CW cancelled it in 2007.
I’ve been a huge fan of Veronica Mars ever since it was first airing back when Channel 13 was still UPN and Channel 5 was still The WB before they merged to become The CW. Am I dating myself? Probably…anyway, I have loved the show so much and for so long that last week I was willing to brave after-work rush hour traffic into Hollywood so I could attend the Paleyfest reunion panel with a friend. (If you’re not an LA native let me elaborate what kind of hell this implies: it took me 20 minutes to go 3 miles on the 101 freeway. Yeah…)
Slight digression, sorry, so…Paleyfest is this really fun weeklong festival hosted by the Paley Center for Media in Hollywood. They get together the casts of popular TV shows on panels to talk about current seasons, what’s coming in the future, and all kinds of other fun stuff. Sometimes, they also do reunions.
Like for Veronica Mars. 🙂
I hadn’t ever physically been to a Paleyfest event myself before last week, although I’ve watched both the Once Upon panels on Hulu. (They are super fun, check them out.) This year when I saw Veronica Mars on the Paleyfest line up I knew I had to go. And go I did. And it was very cool. The theater was gorgeous, the cast were awesome (Kristin Bell is SO TINY) and the panel was really interesting and fun.
Attending the panel just made me hope all the more that they weren’t going to screw up the movie. And…
They so didn’t! This movie is fantastic!
But now, before we dig into spoiler territory, I have to say I honestly don’t know how much someone who hasn’t seen the TV series will get out of this film. Having seen all three TV seasons the movie was so rich and exciting for me. I’m really not sure I can recommend seeing the movie before you’ve finished the TV show. You’ll just get so much more out of the movie if you’ve seen all the episodes first. The TV show is awesome, though. So go ahead and watch it then watch the movie. Problem solved!
OK, now to the movie review…I’m not even going to try to promise no spoilers. There’s too much I wanna talk about. Probably don’t read this until you’ve seen the movie.
SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT SCROLL PAST THIS ADORABLE MARSHMALLOW PICTURE IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN UNSPOILED…
As a fan of Veronica Mars this movie was everything I wanted it to be. They did such a great job of bringing everyone back (and I mean everyone. The only person they missed was Duncan which I was fine with because, ew, Duncan.) … (Did I mention I’m a hard core Logan/Veronica shipper? Yeah…)
This really did feel like just an extra long version of the TV show. The tone was the same, the characters still felt like the same people only nine years later. Nine believable years later, btw. Neptune felt as decadent and corrupt as ever, and this revisit felt authentic to me. I also appreciated that they didn’t try and do any of that “everyone went to the same college” stuff this time (which is part of why the third season didn’t really work, let’s be honest).
I also appreciated how good a job they did explaining where everyone had been for 9 years and what they had been up to. (I was SO HAPPY for Weevil, and then they screwed it up. Of course. But still I expected something of the sort would happen. This is “noir,” after all. I’m just glad the film’s ending was bittersweet as opposed to totally bleak like the TV series finale.)
I thought the two “cases” were a wonderful fit. We had the Wicked 09ers up to trouble plot and the Corruption in Neptune angle, both of which issues were tentpoles for the original series. I got a nice hit of nostalgia seeing that everything was as fucked up as ever in that city by the sea. And I loved the moment where all of Veronica’s mens jumped in to defend her honor at the reunion. Even Dick. That was awesome. 🙂
I will say the murder plot was a leetle thin, and I figured out who the murderer was early on. I was also doing just a little bit of screaming at Veronica in my head when she got overconfident toward the end. I did like that, as opposed to the first two season finales on the TV show, Veronica saved her own ass from the baddie this time and didn’t get any kind of male assist from Logan or her dad. Yay for letting your ass-kicking heroine kick ass all by her lonesome!
I also appreciated that Veronica and Piz had not been dating for the past 9 years. I believed her reigniting with her goodie goodie college flame in a late 20s dating slump. I could not believe she would stay with him uninterrupted for nine years. He’s so not the guy for her. Obviously…
(Fun fact they mentioned at the Paleyfest panel: Originally in S1 Logan was just supposed to be a jack ass antagonist. But when the writers saw how good Kristin Bell and Jason Dohring were onscreen together the writers decided they needed more of “that”. Bell and Dohring high-fived each other at this point of the panel, btw. lol. It’s true, though, they have amazing chemistry together.)
Which brings me to Logan and Veronica. I have been waiting SO LONG for them to get back together. (Since halfway through S3 what? SEVEN YEARS AGO!) I actually got choked up in the movie theater when they finally kissed again. This is another thing the movie handled really well. A lot of the Piz vs. Logan discussion about the movie has been centered around the fact Logan was a bad boy. Bad for Veronica, bad in general. He got in fights. He partied too hard. He was volatile, irresponsible. But he also looked at her like that ^. And he always had her back, defending her, fighting for her even when they were broken up. And you just knew that these two people were never going to love anyone else the way they loved each other.
One thing the movie did really well for me was showing how Logan had grown up in 9 years. He’s not the hard-partying bad boy anymore. During the TV show, we got glimpses of the good, nurturing, loving man he could be, and I felt like the film showed he had finally grown into that part of himself and out of the part that wallowed in his darkness.
It’s not explicitly stated in the film but I suspect that losing Veronica from his life was what finally kicked Logan’s ass in gear and made him grow up. Yes, he’s still hanging out with Dick, but they even went a short way toward redeeming Dick in the film. (At the panel they talked about how Dick is pretty much an irredeemable jack ass on the show, but the writers all liked him too much so they kept putting him in scenes. I have to agree: he’s a jack ass, but he’s a hilarious jack ass. And, as I said, we get little redeeming Dick’s-not-so-bad moments in the film.) Besides, Logan has to keep Dick around. All of Logan’s other close friends keep dying or running off to Australia…or they were Veronica’s friends and probably picked sides after the break-up.
Anyway, I love not-so-bad-boy Logan. Because having grown-up, responsible Logan meant we got this:
My very favorite LoVe moment in the film, though, was how they took the “Epic” speech from S2 and reframed it. In S2 when Logan made that declaration to Veronica it was a commentary on how difficult it had been for them to be together, all the drama they had put each other through (he was also blackout drunk at the time). The speech in S2 was still romantic as hell, of course, but what I really loved in the film was that this time the emphasis was on their commitment to each other. Continents crossed. Bloodshed. All that, yes. But they make this vow to each other in the cool light of morning, sober, eyes open, both adults. Veronica and Logan will go the distance. I believe that this time.
They are totally going to have lots of sex and babies, and don’t you try and tell me different!
To sum up, if you’re a Veronica Mars fan I think you’ll be happy, and if you’re a LoVe shipper like me I suspect you will be VERY happy. ^_^
Grade: ***** (I LOVED it!)
*OTP=One True Pairing. Basically that couple in a fandom that totally belongs together. Like Logan and Veronica! LoVe 4EVAH.