While the jump from the small to the big screen is usually one rife with peril, there are some happy occasions when it just works to an absolute tee. One of the first major films to embrace Kickstarter after the fans demanded it, "Veronica Mars" is a tight thriller that manages to bridge the gap for anyone that hasn't seen the original series and still delight the hard core fans that brought these characters back to life.
On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars (Kirsten Bell) has her past behind her as she has firmly put her home town of Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days in the rear view mirror. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring) who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don't feel right with how Logan's case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind in order to help her friends and make sure that justice is served.
Making that transition to the big screen always risks alienating the fan base, but "Veronica Mars" truly does play like a reboot/reunion episode that picks up where it left off while bringing those of us who are uninitiated along for the ride.
Writer/Director/Producer Rob Thomas takes the reins of it all and while it does play like an extended episode in many ways, the team behind this movie was very careful as to not take anything for granted or under assumption. Knowing the material inside and out allowed this team to get down to the brass tacks of telling a story the best way that they possibly can. Thomas moves us through the story at a brisk pace while the script that he co-wrote with Diane Ruggiero captures the high energy wit that made the show such a cult hit in the first place. It all came off with an air of effortlessness as everyone involved really felt like they wanted to be there, none other the title character and star herself, Kristen Bell.
While her run after the end of the series has its share of highs (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, House of Lies) there have seemingly been just as many lows as well (When In Rome, Hit & Run) so returning to material that made her famous is not only a smart move but ultimately the right one. She steps into the trouble-making, somewhat sarcasm laden shoes of Veronica Mars like she was sliding into a slipper. From beginning to end as this character, she successfully carries the screen as this confident yet still occasionally out of her depth heroine and she makes it entertaining no matter what she does. Key players like Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Chris Lowell, Percy Daggs III, Tina Majorino & Krysten Ritter all return to validate this universe while new players Martin Starr, Jerry O'Connell and Gaby Hoffman and some fresh color to the narrative along with the surprising amount of cameos that this film actually has.
There's something to be said for some good old fashioned effective entertainment as "Veronica Mars" hits all the right buttons making for an enjoyable cinematic experience, no matter if you watched it in the theatre, on VOD or now via DVD & Blu-Ray; it just works.
4 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray is first rate and the special features include some deleted scenes and a whole mess of behind the scenes looks at how this idea went from a Kickstarter launch to a feature motion picture.
"Veronica Mars" is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand for rent or purchase from all major retailers and providers.