March 18, 2014

Podcast Episode 9: The Resurrection Of VERONICA MARS

"It actually does sit on a hellmouth."
I came to the Veronica Mars series fairly late in the game, speeding through the entire show on Jamie's DVDs a few years after it had gone off the air.  But like any good detective noir, once Veronica got her hooks into me, there was no going back.  When creator Rob Thomas launched his now infamous Kickstarter campaign to finally bring Neptune to the big screen, I was an early and vocal backer of the project, excited at the opportunity to catch up with all my favorite characters and see that enthralling world brought to life once more.

Exactly one year and one day after the start of that campaign , the film hit theaters and Jamie and I were there to see it.  I actually could have gone to the premiere at SXSW, but I promised the wife that I wouldn't see it without her.  Then we had tickets to a backers only screening the night before it opened, but Jamie's parent-teacher conferences forced us to give away our tickets and by the time we realized our scheduling mistake, the only tickets we could get for opening night required a lengthy (by Boston standards) drive to the only other theater in the area that was showing the film.  So after work on Friday we piled into the car and hauled ass to the north shore, where we pounded beers and Buffalo Wild Wings before running into the packed theater and grabbing seats in the bottom row.

We also brought Bart along for the ride and I was very curious to see how the film would play out for someone who knew absolutely NOTHING about Veronica Mars walking into the theater.  I knew that Thomas had essentially done a fan service movie, cramming in as many references and characters from the show as possible in order to please the folks who forked over their hard earned cash in order to get the movie made in the first place, but I hoped that perhaps the clever dialogue, crazy mystery, noir style and palpable chemistry would be enough to sustain a VM virgin's interest.

Apparently my hopes were a bit high.

Having now watched the film twice, Bart's totally right.  A lot of the really strong emotional beats, whether they be humorous or tragic, are predicated on the deeper love and understanding of the characters and their relationships that only comes with having been immersed in them for three television seasons.  Without all that, it's easy to feel like you're just constantly not in on the joke.  Not that the movie is hard to follow on its own merits, but it does probably fall a bit flat in some of the bigger moments.  The story functions fine, but Thomas tries to squeeze in so many peripheral characters that the integral ones don't make quite as big an impact if you're unfamiliar with them.  (The best example is pretty spoilery so I've relegated it to the footnote below.*)  It's a fair point and I hope we'll get a chance to see a sequel in which we can focus more on Veronica being a badass and less on making sure we catch up with Korny the pizza boy and his duct tape wallet business.

Bart, Jamie and I dig into all this and more in the ninth episode of our (now weekly!) podcast, along with some thoughts on the Man Of Steel/Captain America scheduling non-controversy as well as the latest casting rumors for Star Wars Episode VII.  Suffice it to say, we're all pretty nervous.

Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud so you can get the latest episode delivered unto you automatically each week!  Next week we'll be talking about Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, so feel free to leave questions or comments below and we just might talk about them on the digital air.

*It's easy to see the tragedy in reformed biker bad boy Weevil getting shot while trying to help a stranded motorist, but it all plays very differently if you know who Celeste Kane is as well as Weevil's history with the Kane family, none of which is touched upon in the movie.

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