Veronica Mars is one of my favourite TV shows of all time, the series is smart, funny, intriguing, entertaining and moving, with a teenage heroine who is both larger than life and completely believable. When they announced the kickstarter for the movie I was dubious because I wasn’t sure that they would be able to recreate the magic. But after one of the most successful kickstarters in history and a nervous couple of years, I finally settled in to watch the movie on release day, via the pleasant experience of Film 4OD. And it was pretty bloody good.
All the old magic was there. The characters that I cared about have grown older, but they haven’t changed who they really are (even if they’ve tried), they’ve just evolved. The humour and dialogue were as pointed as ever and the mystery twisty and turny enough to keep you guessing, while all the clues (and some red herrings) are there as well. And on top of all that there are dozens of references to the original series that made me want to clap.
It’s not perfect, there is a lot of hoop jumping to try and make it accessible to non-fans, which I’m not sure is either successful, or worth the effort. There are a few dead ends in the plot and some overly cheesy moments. but then that was true of the original series as well and there’s something endearing about the imperfections. If the film had been too polished, too much like a big screen movie, then it wouldn’t have been the show that we loved. Whether it was thanks to the limited budget, or the savviness of the writers, there were no attempts at Hollywood spectacle, no big explosions and no big name stars. Well, there was a surprise big name star, but given his connection to the writers that didn’t really count. Oh, and Ira Glass from This American Life, but he’s only a big name star to a particularly set of people.
I was not disappointed by the film one bit. Everything about it (even the problems) made me want to grin and cheer. If you didn’t like the original series, or haven’t seen it, I doubt that this will do much for you. But for the fans… it’s the holy grail.