Veronica Mars Returns Like an Old Friend, This Time on the Big Screen

It’s a strange beast, the film adaptation of a popular television series. Even stranger when that film adaptation was turned down flat by film executives, only to be funded by a rabid fan base on Kickstarter. Which brings us here, seven years later and Kristen Bell is cracking wise and solving crimes once more as the not-a-teen-anymore sleuth Veronica Mars.

The story of how Veronica Mars came to be is as interesting as the film itself. Warner Bros. agreed to release the film if the team could raise $2 million themselves. After filming a pitch at Bell’s home and posting a plea to fans on Kickstarter, they met their goal in just 10 hours. In the end, fans pledged $5.7 million, enough for a 23-day shoot.

And now their film is getting the release Warner Bros. promised. Veronica Mars is sure to please fans, that’s for sure. The plot picks up nine years after the events of the show; Veronica is living in New York with Piz (the Veronica-Piz-Logan love triangle was central to the show) and on the precipice of a high-paying legal career. But trouble pulls her back to her seedy hometown of Neptune, California; Logan (Jason Dohring) is the prime suspect in the murder of his pop star girlfriend. Soon she’s back to her sleuthing ways.

The deceased pop star is not just anyone, but Carrie Bishop, known as the queen of gossip back at Neptune High School. (Leighton Meester does not reprise her role from the TV show.) As Veronica works to clear Logan’s name, a parade of faces familiar to the television show’s fans march across the screen. The script, too, written by the series’ creator Rob Thomas and its executive producer Diane Ruggiero, is full of winks and nods back to the television show.

But what about those who didn’t watch the UPN series?

The movie’s central mystery is perhaps slightly anticlimactic for those who aren’t already invested in these characters. And Veronica’s signature deadpan comebacks are admittedly a little less charming coming from a 28-year-old lawyer than they were when she was skipping geometry to solve murders. There might also be a little bit of confusion about the characters’ prior relationships, though a voiceover at the beginning of the film should get Veronica Mars neophytes mostly up to speed. Nonetheless, fans of the TV show will be thrilled.

The film will be embraced by the show’s fans like an old fan. Whether it will be a hit with a wider audience seems doubtful. But that’s really of no concern to Warner Bros., who spent a minimal amount of money on the film, and will likely earn back their investment with just a $1 million or so in tickets sold. There are, of course, some questions left unanswered and some injustices left unrighted. So will we see another Veronica Mars movie? It seems like that’s in the hands of the fans, and their wallets.