Thoughts on Veronica Mars – The Movie

At long last: another review! And about a current movie! (see, that’s what happens when you live in a country without Netflix or Hulu…) Anyways, I went to see the Veronica Mars movie yesterday, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.

First off: THE MOVIE IS REALLY AWESOME!!!! Which was (for me at least) slightly surprising, because I didn’t really like the third season of the original series. I’m no fan of Piz, and somehow the college setting didn’t speak to me the way it did on Buffy. So I didn’t really know what to expect from the movie (and I didn’t back it because the campaign ended before I had finished the series which I had gotten for Christmas).

So, let’s get straight to the big PROs (and there are a lot):

1. Everyone’s grown up! Okay, this might be obvious, but somehow I didn’t expect how much they had grown up (with the exception of Dick). Even their voices have matured (which should also be obvious). And in some way, most of the characters were what I had hoped they would be: successful and confident and so unlike what they often looked like in season 3.

2. Veronica. Our names have the same initials, so naturally I feel very close to her. Seeing this movie, I want to drag every female being and every screenwriter and director and producer into a screening and say “LOOK! This is the kind of female character I want to see in movies and on TV! And this is the kind of woman I want to meet in the real world!” Especially the scene in the 09er club: Veronica kicks the guys’ ass without kicking it. So much strength and confidence in one person. Just wonderful.

3. It’s so damn funny! Even funnier than the original series (I think). There were meta jokes about the series/movie, there were pop culture references, there were funny cameos… In a way, it reminded me of Buffy (again). It’s the kind of smart humor I really like.

4. Nevertheless, the overall tone was darker and (again) grown up. I had at least three almost-heart-attacks (and I say that as a Game of Thrones audience member…) In a way, I thought they returned to their season 1 roots, which was very much about the class differences between Veronica and the 09ers (as I remember it). This is one aspect of the great strength of this movie: the meaningful combination of past and present, updating the old series and letting it shine on the big screen.

5. Various other things I liked: the visuals. I really liked their way of integrating phone calls and text messages into the frames. I haven’t seen that often (yet), and it really works well and also harmonizes with the overall tone of the movie. || The guest stars! So many “Oh my God, it’s ….!” moments! Not sure who my favorite was, but it was so great to see all those old characters again and to find out what happened to them.

In essence, the movie was pretty much what I would have wanted from season 3, and what I would want from season 4 (because that ending just screams SEQUEL!)

Okay, I have a minor point of criticism, and I know that I will come across as Mrs. Knowitall, but… as a Japanese speaker I just have to point out that the tattoo on our little pop star does not mean “serendipity”. 幸 (sachi) means “good luck” or “fortune”, so it’s close enough, but at least to my knowledge there is no Japanese word (or character) meaning exactly “serendipity” (there isn’t even a German one).

Enough of that, let’s end this review with some musings on crowdfunding. I recently got around to finally watching Iron Sky, which was the first large scale crowdfunded movie. I knew what the movie was about, but somehow it wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. The VFX were impressive, the story was unique, but somehow I was missing something. So crowd-funding obviously doesn’t guarantee stellar movies (if anyone had even expected that).

Veronica Mars was obviously different. It had a heart and a brain, it was never boring, and it was series even when it was funny. And that makes me wonder: was it so good because of the artistic freedom that came with the crowdfunded money? Or would it have been good no matter who would have provided the money? Would a possible sequel (whether in the form of another movie or another TV series) be as good, given that it would most probably not be crowdfunded?

Obviously, I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I will watch closely what the critics and the box office will say. Especially the latter one, because I’m not sure this movie works as a standalone. Of course, the story more or less does, but much of the heart I think doesn’t – some scenes were obviously mostly for showing off gues appearances from beloved characters (the principal!)

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