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Veronica Mars (2014)

Written and directed by Rob Thomas

For better or for worse Veronica Mars gives fans of the old TV Show and Kickstarter backers almost everything they could possibly want. This is the rare film that I can absolutely say I was looking forward to seeing and it did not disappoint. Sure I can quibble about a few major omissions but Writer/Producer/Director Rob Thomas has done something truly special here. He’s shown Hollywood how you bring an old property to the big screen in a way that is sure to please fans, while potentially building a new fan base.

Without rehashing any covered ground, Thomas gives newbies the 411 on his sassy detective Veronica (Kristen Bell) in a beautiful 4-minute introduction. We find out exactly why she became a detective, why she quit, where she’s been and about her tragic relationship with bad boy Hollywood kid Logan Echols (Jason Dohring).

It’s been 9 years since she’s left that life behind and she’s happy being a marshmallow in New York, not making any waves with her boyfriend – the evil Piz (Chris Lowell), the guy we VM fans all want to punch in his dopey face. She’s on the verge of getting a high powered New York law firm when she gets a call from Logan asking her to help him get out of a jam. It seems he’s accused of murdering his girlfriend.  Shouldn’t there be some three strikes law that says if you are involved in a murder more than 3 times you automatically get a little jail time for stupidity?

Fan service is in abundance here; we get plenty of cameos and extended appearances from old Veronica mainstays – Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Dick (Ryan Hansen), Weevil (Francis Capra), Mac (Tina Majorino), Deputy Leo (Max Greenfield) and a host of others.  Veronica still has one of the coolest dads ever in the form of the always-amazing Keith (Enrico Colantoni). Jerry O’Connell joins the crew as the corrupt Sheriff Don Lamb, brother of the old corrupt Sheriff and Krysten Ritter returns as Gia. I never liked Gia, but this time out she has a lot more involvement in the show and we do get closure to her character. I miss Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. I miss original Sheriff Lamb, but O’Connell does a decent job of playing his “clone.”

There are a LOT of characters that randomly appear to give Veronica bits of information, while it made me giddy to see a bunch of these old favorites. Non-fans may sit around wondering who are these people and why is the person next to me going nuts? There’s even a hysterical James Franco cameo that could only make sense in a Veronica Mars movie.

My only quibbles would be the ending to the town scandals and police corruption felt really abrupt and I didn’t like the conclusion to Weevil’s story. It felt forced and a bit unrealistic considering everything that Weevil had to lose by making the choice that he does. Now I may have blinked and missed them, but it would have been nice to see Duncan (Teddy Dunn) and Parker (Julie Gonzalo).  I loved all the nods to the TV Show in more than just cameos, but just the style and feel of the film was 100% season one Veronica Mars.

Once again Thomas shows why his intricate storytelling set Mars apart from standard TV fare and now movie telling. His mysteries almost never unfold in a straight line, it’s always a jagged edge that twists and turns. We get a pretty complex murder mystery plot that grows into other sub mysteries. I don’t want to go into detail and spoil it. The dialogue in this is pure gold; it’s wonderfully sarcastic, strange and witty, while maintaining the seriousness of the situation. There are some really shocking, gasp worthy moments where I was on the edge of my seat. Thomas and company clearly seem interested in keeping the franchise going as they left it in a very satisfying place with everything wrapped up nice and neat, but leaving plenty of room for more visits to the cozy hamlet of Neptune, Ca.

Reposted with permission of the author.

Review originally appeared in Eclipsemagazine.com

Michelle Alexandria has been writing reviews for EclipseMagazine.com since 1997. Her reviews have been seen or quoted from on many of the top entertainment and film websites on the Web. She's most famous for her infamous trio of reviews for "Lord of the Rings" and saying the series lacked a little thing called "believability." She was the one critic in the crowd who hated "Titanic" and laughed out loud in the theater when Jack died. She walked out of "Magnolia" and "A.I." To this very day she avoids getting her picture taken for fear of LOTR fanboys recognizing her. They still pop up and say "This is the woman who hated LOTR, what does she know?" One of these days, she's going to collect every piece of hate mail for an entire year and put it into book form. In another life she has been a freelance Consumer Tech reporter for The Washington Post and UPI. Her first book, "Tell Us Who You Are - The EclipseMagazine.com Interviews," will be published this fall and available in fine bookstores — just about everywhere.