November 18, 2014

Cheapskate Film Festival: VERONICA MARS

Yes, this is the movie that was launched by Kickstarter, and as a fan of Veronica Mars via DVD, I was eager to see how they handle the material....
....and I'm, well, a bit underwhelmed by the effort.
Admittedly, much of this film is fan service, and there's nothing wrong with that....if you're doing a reunion movie for the CW. We catch up with Veronica as an attorney pursuing a high-powered position with a firm, and who is seemingly happy in a relationship. However, her ten year reunion means that she's called back to Neptune, where she finds herself involved with a murder, a resulting mystery, and....well, complications ensue.
It may sound like I'm dismissing the film, and as a "where-are-they-now" piece, it's actually really good - there's a palpable sense that time has moved on, but there's also the sense that characters are being moved like pieces on a board rather than acting in a situation. I've enjoyed the noir-ish approach to "young adult drama" when Veronica Mars was a series, but there's a sense of "been there, done that" to the proceedings.
It doesn't help that it emphasizes themes of addiction - that Veronica, for all of her efforts to move on, simply has to "move back" and operate in the shadowy world of Neptune. Without spoiling - there's a natural explanation for her to want to move back involving her father. (Trust me, I know this from personal experience). But once we arrive at the end, with Veronica moving into an all-too-predictable position, one character shows up in a context with no explanation. We really have the sense that this is "launching" a possible reboot/revision of the character, but unlike Dredd, it lacks any imagination.
I also want to call a very public shenanigans on Rob Thomas - essentially, although he launched a Kickstarter campaign to get this movie funded, it was done under slightly false pretenses. According to some sources, Warner Brothers had offered to make the movie, but expected Mr. Thomas to raise a certain amount. Although Kickstarter is a valid way to raise funds, I have some qualms with it being used by filmmakers who have connections, and who can make an honest effort. (If you would like more information about how movies are funded, why not read The Hollywood Economist by Edward Jay Epstein? It's a brisk read, but you'll gain a lot more insight into how - and why - certain decisions are made).
Veronica Mars - the movie - isn't particularly bad. It would have worked as a nice reunion film on television. But as a major movie? I'm....less than taken with it. Definitely worth renting, though.

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