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Veronica Mars (2014) Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring. Dir. Rob Thomas

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Veronica Mars

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What any die hard fan of a beloved but pre-maturely canceled TV show wants is closure on what happened to their favorite characters. They mostly want to see them one last time, and to that end, the long awaited, fan-funded Veronica Mars movie will satisfy every one of those die hard fans and then some. It's mostly an extended reunion episode of the show, but with nearly every major character making an appearance and not missing a beat in their personalities, quirks and the surrounding atmosphere of the fictional town of Neptune, CA- it's entirely satisfying in every possible way.

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Veronica Mars ran from 2004-2007 on UPN (now the CW) and followed the exploits of a teenage private eye in the sassy, snappy Veronica, who investigated the morally and ethically corrupt citizens of the town in which she lived. Fans like me were devoted to the world the show created and the characters who populated it, especially Kristin Bell as our heroine, who has never found a better role in her subsequent movie career. She fits back into Veronica's shoes with ease- it seems to be a relief to wear the part of the hardened, wisecracking sleuth, who's now on the verge of starting a big law career in New York, only to be called back to Neptune by her ex-boyfriend Logan, who's of course being accused of murder (what else is new?) She and Logan (Jason Dohring), her main love interest on the series, are still drawn to each other, even after nine years of no contact. The case brings her back home and conveniently on the weekend of her high school reunion, giving her a chance to reconnect with old friends and foes, and giving the audience a chance to reunite with however many actors from guest shot episodes they could get back (unfortunately, the murder victim that the whole mystery is centered around was Carrie Bishop, a character played by Leighton Meester, who did not return- come on Leighton, Gossip Girl made you so big you couldn't film a 10-second flashback and pose for some pictures?)

The story behind how this film was made is widely known, as creator and director Rob Thomas and Kristin Bell asked fans to contribute to a Kickstarter program, which was wildly successful, as the show's passionate fanbase donated nearly $6 million to the film's budget in less than three days. In light of that situation, Thomas can hardly be blamed for seeing the rationale for this movie to be created mostly as an act of fan service, and that affected much of the storyline as well. Indeed, this particular murder mystery is not one of the show's most compelling (Logan doesn't even seem that broken up about his latest girlfriend's death), and it mostly works as an excuse to get Veronica back in Neptune with Logan, Mac, Wallace, Weevil and her dad Keith (Enrico Colantoni, still terrific in his interactions with Bell, reprising one of the most memorable father-daughter relationships ever on TV). But there's enough set-up and establishment of the ongoing and maybe worsening corruption and class war in Neptune to give plenty of ammunition to the idea of hopefully, a sequel or even a resurrection of the show in miniseries form (come on, Netflix, come to the rescue!) The cast seems game, as it's obvious everyone is thrilled to be back and the film was truly a labor of love for all involved.

As for me, I don't know if this is a movie that has anything to offer non-fans or people who'd never seen the show (although you should, as it was one of the great series of the last decade), but for this devoted marshmallow, it was everything I could have hoped for and more, as it leaves the promise of a return to Neptune in one way or another. And in this present era where beloved shows can be saved by other networks (The Killing), long-canceled favorites can return in new formats (Arrested Development), and even shows that had a good long run can be brought back for miniseries events (24), it's now official that fans have more power and options than ever before, and it's not crazy to hope for life among the ranks of those labeled "gone too soon." It's a new world, folks, and I for one am excited to be living in it.

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