Friday, March 28, 2014

The Veronica Mars Movie: Feelin' the LoVe

A nasty chest cold put me out of commission for most of last week, delaying my watching of the Veronica Mars movie.  (And trust me, the sulking was epic.)  As per usual, 'ware spoilers.

With only the smallest handful of reservations, I love this movie unabashedly.  It's not a blockbuster, it's not an art movie.  It's a love letter.  That's the best language to describe this film: an absolute thank you to the fans who wanted Veronica back and were willing to volunteer some serious cash to pay for her return to the screen.  We reunite with Veronica nine years after the series finale of the show, just as she's graduating from law school, interviewing with prestigious law firms, and congratulating herself on transitioning from the revenge-fueled life she led in Neptune to a stable, normal existence.

The slight problem, as Veronica admits to herself, is that stable and normal bores the shit out of her.  She returns to Neptune for the famed "one last job" (like that ever works out well) when former boyfriend Logan Echolls is accused of murdering his girlfriend, but one gets the sense that she would have found her way back even without his phone call.  Veronica refers to herself as an addict when it comes to her investigative urges several times throughout the movie.  Given that Logan states he ended his relationship with the (not yet then) dead ex-girlfriend because her substance abuse issues made him feel more like a sponsor than a mate, this gave me pause.  Veronica has always had deep issues with rage, played wonderfully by Kristen Bell and only enhanced by the fact that she looks like Tinker Belle cast into human form.  It's true to say that she's a noir hero, deeply flawed and with some not-so-savoury dogs in the fight that drive her to her acts of heroism.  I'm not sure how I feel about her last lines basically admitting that she's an incurable addict and taking up the mantel of Mars Investigations as a way of binging on her urges.  Very interested in the whispers of a possible sequel.  (MEANING GO WATCH THIS MOVIE, GUYS.  GO WATCH IT, GO WATCH IT, GO WATCH IT.  I MEAN IT.)

As much as Veronica likes to isolate herself when she's in a driven mood, she's nothing without the rest of her supporting cast.  Thomas was able to get nearly everyone back, from Mac to Wallace to Dick, and they are all wonderfully written and acted in their new, adult personas.  The character who surprised me the most, however, was Logan.  If you had told me a decade ago that Logan Freaking Echolls would, not only join the Navy, but actually rise high enough to make it a career I would have laughed in your face and then quietly advise that you check into a nice, quiet place to rest for a while.  But it works.  Between Thomas's writing and directing and Dohring's acting, Logan emerges as an actual adult who still has anger issues (it's not a Veronica Mars movie unless Logan gets into at least one fistfight) but is mature enough to acknowledge them and not let them rule his life.  And it seems...effortless.  Logan Echolls, actual adult.  Whoa.

Of course, this would not be a Veronica Mars movie without that dash of smolder between Logan and Veronica.  The chemistry between Bell and Dohring has not died in the slightest after nearly a decade apart, and this time?  The "epic" quote is earned.

The plot is smart, the acting is every bit as good as the series, and Thomas's voice rivals Whedon's in its immediate recognizability.  I'm telling you, people, if this movie doesn't get a sequel and the cliffhanger with Weevil is left unresolved, I will cry tears of blood.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Veronica!

I am too sick to go see the Veronica Mars movie in public. (No one wants my sneezes and old man coughs in the theater, plus calling in today just makes it bad form.) I know I can rent it as of now on iTunes, but who knows how long it's going to last on the big screen when only certain theaters are carrying it now! Obviously, I am made of tragedy.
So go see it in my absence, even though I am going to transparently rent it on my computer. To my memory, this is the first crowd-funded major motion picture ever, and it features Kristen Bell as lead and is written by Rob Thomas. (Buy a copy of Rats Saw God and the S1 of VMars, thank you.) The crowd-funding in and of itself is a big deal, and a major paradigm shift from what studio heads think people want versus want people *actually want*. Secondly: Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas, always a smarter-than-you neo-noir combo. Thirdly: OMG MY SMASHY MARSHMALLOW IS BACK GET HERE YOU SWEETNESS. The fact that Veronica Mars is not included on every single list of badass Internet heroines is a freaking crime.