movie thoughts: Veronica Mars (2014)

Here we go! #veronicamars #veronicamarsmovie

So, as I think all of you know, I backed the Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter. I had watched the show religiously when it initially aired and I was excited by the prospect of seeing Kristen Bell on the big screen in a role that would take advantage of all of her talents.

Leading up to the movie’s release, I decided to rewatch the series since I hadn’t seen it since it was on TV, even though I had purchased the DVDs almost 7 years ago. If you read those posts, you know that the show did not fair as well during the second viewing. Or, at least, I realized things about the show that I didn’t notice the first time through. Mostly that it doesn’t have the character development that I made me love shows like Buffy, Firefly, or Gilmore Girls. Watching season 1 – 3 over the course of 2 months made it very clear – Veronica Mars is not about characters growing or changing, it’s about solving mysteries. At it’s core, it is a noir detective series that just happens to take place in a high school instead of a black and white city.

With these confusing feelings in my heart, we started up the movie right after watching the final four episodes of Season 3. Here are my thoughts:

***SPOILERS BELOW*****

The Good

  • The gang was all there! It was so great to see all of our main characters back, but especially Kristen and Enrico because I still think they have one of the best father/daughter dynamics in a tv show ever.
  • Even better was seeing all the side characters, like the semi-stoner guy or the Principal. Nice that they were able to track them down. And Cliff. I adore Cliff.
  • SCHMIDT! LEO! That scene was great, especially when he asked her about the FBI LOLOL!
  • It felt like a long episode of the TV show and that was perfectly fine. The mystery was relatively solid, with enough little twists to keep you guessing.
  • Banter! Pop culture references!
  • Silly voices! Secret identities! Accessories!

All in all, I was happy with the majority of the broader strokes of the film. But then little things started to bug me…

The Bad

  • They should not have made Piz and Veronica a couple if they were just going to break them up. Were they supposedly together for 9 years? If that is true, then that break-up was shitty on her part. Thomas should have just made them friends, maybe had a quick sentence about why it didn’t work out and moved on. Wallace and Mac could have still flown him out, there could still be sexual tension but at least Veronica wouldn’t look like a horrible person.
  • Weevil’s ending sucked. Why would he throw away his happy life with his wife and child and suddenly become a biker gang leader again? Just, no. How about he could be the example of people that can escape Neptune’s grasp and that it is possible?
  • Sorta disappointed we heard nothing about what happened with the Sheriff election that ended Season 3.
  • I wish Veronica’s career story had not been so integral because it sorta made me sick her throwing away everything. And the idea that she didn’t go to the FBI academy AND spent a ton of money on law school only to throw it all away to go back to Neptune made me sad…

See, here is where I can’t figure out if the problem is the movie or the problem is between me and the genre. I don’t really do a lot of noir detective stories. Heck, I don’t even watch a lot of detective shows period. Talking with about what defines that genre, I would say that Veronica Mars fits the bill – the idea of no escape, being trapped, a guess a kind of fatalism? Defeatism? I have grown to prefer character that fight back and watching Veronica throw away a life she had for NINE YEARS and decide to go back to being a P.I. in Neptune just made me too sad. But that is noir. It’s dark and you’re trapped and you do what you gotta do to stay alive.

Couldn’t she have gone with Logan to wherever he was stationed and solved crimes there? See the world, Veronica! It ends with her smirking but all I could envision was Keith feeling so sad that he had let his daughter down, that she was trapped again.

So while it was probably the only ending that worked for Veronica Mars, it was not the ending I wanted for Veronica Mars, if that makes sense.

All in all, a 3 star movie for me. I’ve only watched it once and I’m not sure if I want to watch it again right away. I almost think I need more space between me and the film to try to get the woulda-coulda-shoulda plot lines out of my head and go back to it with an open mind. The whole show was not what I remembered, confusing the aging of characters for development. It’s a detective show, through and through, and this movie is a good detective story. It’s just too bad the characters had to take such abuse.

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