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Blu-ray Review: 'Veronica Mars'

Kristen Bell in "Veronica Mars"
Kristen Bell in "Veronica Mars"
Yahoo Images

The Film:

I should start this off by mentioning that I’ve never seen a single episode of the “Veronica Mars” TV show. From what I know of it, it became something of a cult hit for the three seasons it was on, building a very loyal fanbase that would go on to be the main reason the film would be able to get made. The rest is cinematic history in the sense that the Kickstarter campaign that got the film the greenlight was a truly unique event, something that, to my knowledge, had never been done before. $5.7 million dollars later, the fans got their wish and the “Veronica Mars” film was born.

Picking up several years after the show’s end, we find Veronica (Kristen Bell) trying to get a job at a New York law firm. She’s moved on from her old days as a private investigator and even has a serious boyfriend (Chris Lowell). When the news breaks that a famous singer has been murdered, the blame falls on Veronica’s ex-boyfriend, Logan (Jason Dohring), who contacts her for help. Veronica returns to her hometown of Neptune and soon finds herself embroiled in a complex case that has a number of suspects. Even though she gets the great news that she’s gotten the job in New York, she soon finds that she can’t quite bring herself to give up the opportunity of playing detective once more.

The people behind the “Veronica Mars” film seem to have anticipated that several viewers might not have seen the show by including a short prologue bringing everyone up to speed, so for those wondering if you need to see one before the other, rest assured, it’s not necessary. Granted, those who are more familiar with the characters will probably get all the little inside references, but first-timers will still be able to follow along with the story perfectly fine. The murder mystery that arises is for the most part compelling. We have the obvious suspect, Logan, who was found next to the body of the murdered singer, but claims he had nothing to do with it, and this all ties together somehow with another acquaintance of theirs from high school, who apparently died in a “boating accident” several years ago. Like any good mystery, the pieces slowly come together, in a sense resembling a film noir from the good old days, complete with a rambling explanation of the entire crime (a la “The Maltese Falcon” or “The Big Sleep”). It does drag a little in the middle act as it tries to include more characters, but overall I found that I had enjoyed the mystery, which comes with a few gripping moments of tension. As I said, fans may get a little more out of it, but even if you’ve never seen the show before, don’t let that stop you from giving the film a shot.

Video/Audio:

“Veronica Mars” comes to Blu-ray in a 2.4:1 transfer of outstanding quality. The picture remains crystal clear throughout the entire runtime with bright colors and a sharp image even in darker scenes. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is also top-notch, giving you the optimal experience of hearing every little sound loud and clear without having to make any adjustments. Overall, I can’t find one thing to complain about in either area.

Special Features:

By the Fans: The Making of the Veronica Mars Movie: A fantastic look behind the scenes of the making of the film, featuring interviews with the cast and crew as they talk about the Kickstarter campaign and the opportunity to reprise their old characters, all of which leads right up to the premiere of the film. Definitely worth watching.

More On-Set Fun: A collection of six videos that are pretty much goofy looks behind the scenes. They’re slightly amusing, but not particularly worth watching.

Deleted Scenes: About four minutes worth of extended/alternate scenes that don’t amount to very much, so they’re easily skipable.

Gag Reel: About four minutes of outtakes that are amusing enough to watch at least once.

Conclusion:

The “Veronica Mars” movie is sure to delight the legions of fans of the show, while also acting as a satisfying mystery for those who are just meeting these characters for the first time. Add onto that a decent selection of special features and the outstanding quality of the film itself and you have a release that is easily recommendable. If you’re in the mood for a compelling story with a few thrills and a twist of film noir, then this is one that’s worth picking up.

Score: 3.5/5

Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.

Recent Blu-ray/DVD releases: Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Four, The Legend of Hercules, Dead Shadows, Sorcerer, Copperhead, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Best of Bogart Collection, Beneath, American Hustle, Kill Your Darlings, The Slumber Party Massacre, Inside Llewyn Davis, In Fear, Oldboy (2013), Cold Comes the Night, Gravity

Now playing in theaters: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Draft Day, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nymphomaniac: Volume Two, Nymphomaniac: Volume One, Bad Words

Also be sure to check out my lists of the Best and Worst Films of 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.