Veronica Mars: the movie

If you watch the movie Veronica Mars without having previously watched the three seasons of the television show, I don’t think you’ll enjoy it as much.

The movie felt, to me, like another episode of the show, with all the familiar characters just a little older. Logan Echolls is the prime suspect in a murder, as usual. Veronica, who is about to join a prestigious New York law firm, is drawn back into the noir world of Neptune, California, to help out Logan, even though she and Piz from Hearst College have apparently been inseparable for the last nine years. Piz still seems to lack chemistry with Veronica. Logan still seems to have chemistry with Veronica. The timing of the murder coincides with the Neptune High 10-year reunion, which Veronica resolutely isn’t going to attend. Of course, she does, after being hoodwinked by Wallace Fennel, who is now a teacher/coach at Neptune, and Mac, who is some sort of tech bigwig now. All of the old familiar faces are brought out. Weevil is now a respectable businessman with a beautiful wife and daughter. Dick Casablancas is still, well, Dick Casablancas. Gia Goodman is present and says she has forgiven Veronica for outing her pedophile dad. The current sheriff, Dan Lamb, is Don’s brother, but Deputy Sacks is still around, along with his mustache.

The plot becomes increasingly convoluted as the movie progresses, and the stakes are raised and become increasingly personal for Veronica. I’m not going to spoil everything here. Let’s just say that Piz stays true to form from the original series with predictable consequences. Oh, and this is certainly no spoiler, Weevil is once again framed for a crime he didn’t commit, even though it’s not even a B-plot. And Keith Mars is injured in a nonaccidental accident that reminds me a lot of the one he walked away from in the show, the one that drove him into Laura San Giacomo’s arms. Even Celeste Kane has a cameo. As does, inexplicably, James Franco, as himself.

This movie is a welcome addition to the Veronica Mars canon, and I enjoyed it for what it is. At times it felt like it was working too hard to shoehorn in all of the characters from the past, some of whom have gone on to bigger roles. The Officer and a Gentleman references probably soared over the heads of a few of the younger viewers of the movie. Not surprisingly, Rob Thomas and crew embraced newer technology, with texting and smart phones figuring prominently in the plot, as well as lap tops with built-in cameras.

The conclusion of the movie was both satisfying and depressing at the same time, which is true to Veronica Mars’ noir roots. Veronica ends up exactly where we thought she would. Again, this is difficult for me to say since I just finished watching the third season of the television show, but I can’t imagine that anyone who isn’t already familiar with the world of Veronica Mars could really enjoy this one. So, watch the show first.

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