It's remarkable how much Veronica Mars feels like coming home again. Ms. Mars has had nearly a decade off from her detective duties, but the character and the series at large saunters right back into form with such a confident swagger, it feels like she never really left at all.
The product of a now infamous Kickstarter campaign, Veronica Mars is the film sequel to the much beloved but scarcely watched CW series that followed the adventures of a teenage private eye. Mars solved mysteries surrounding the seedy denizens of the fictional Neptune California, a beach town where the rich socialites and working class heroes clash quite frequently and often violently. The series was a terrific mix of Nancy Drew and Raymond Chandler, give or take a Buffy, airing for three seasons before being canceled. But thanks to creator Rob Thomas' audacious Kickstarter and a brewing cult of fans, Veronica Mars has been given a second chance at life, a chance that precious few shows receive.
The film picks up with Veronica (Kristen Bell) knocking on 30's door and enjoying a comfortable life in New York City with her long time boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell). Her youthful gumshoe years are well behind her, but her old life comes back into swing when former flame Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is charged with murdering his starlet girlfriend. Veronica tells herself that she only wants to consult a friend, but Neptune's magnetic pull becomes too hard to resist.
The film is a ton of fun. It's still as whip smart as the series ever was, and the quips whiz by effortlessly and constantly... often right over the heads of those who aren't already baptized by the gospel of Veronica. The show quickly falls back into familiar rhythms, and the nine years away haven't dulled the character's verbal barbs. Prepare to be bathed in waves of wit. Even outside of the near-relentless banter, the show maintains a nice and heavy sense of tension when the mystery sets in, and things get serious. While the actual mystery itself is far from brilliant, it's still engaging enough to entertain. In any case, the main course here is the characters, and they are as stellar as ever. Keith Mars (the fantastic Enrico Colantoni) is still the easy frontrunner for dad of the millennium.
The most remarkable thing about the film is how much it feels like the Veronica Mars of old, and that's the best compliment we can pay it. The returning cast members slip into their old roles with so much ease, and the film never feels like it's straining to regain that old Neptune spark. It turns out that watching a near 30 Veronica is just as much fun as watching the sleuth in her teenage years. And the fact that the show's general formula doesn't feel out of place now that we're following a load of late 20-somethings instead of high schoolers probably says something about how smartly and strongly crafted the original show was in the first place.
Rob Thomas clearly isn't trying to broaden his formula to catch new fans, and it doesn't make sense that he'd do so anyway. This is clearly a film built from the ground up for Veronica Mars fans, as it should be. A hefty intro montage at the beginning tries its best to get newcomers caught up on the three seasons of the television show, but if you didn't spend at least a couple hours cruising along the seedy streets of Neptune all those years ago, some of the film's charm might be lost on you.
The Veronica Mars film, at its core, is basically a damned good two hour episode of the original series. Now, that's not exactly ambitious, but the fans that put down their hard earned money to fund the film weren't necessarily paying for ambition. What we have here is unquestionably and purely Veronica Mars. So self-assured and comfortable in it's own celluloid skin, it's a film that dutifully embraces everything that made that series so brilliant and fun in the first place. Welcome home, Veronica, it's been a while.
The first Veronica Mars star who is not Kristen Bell is officially on board for the upcoming Veronica Mars movie, and you'll probably squeal when you find out who it is: Jason Dohring, a.k.a. Veronica's true love Logan Echolls, a.k.a. the dreamiest d-bag to ever grace the UPN network, has signed on to reprise his role in the Kickstarter-funded feature film about everyone's favorite teen detective.
Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas announced the news in an email to the movie's Kickstarter campaign backers. "Jason Dohring is officially on board for the Veronica Mars movie," Thomas says. "We now have three actors officially cast. Veronica, Logan and the waiter who says, 'Your check, sir.'"
The third role belongs to a generous soul who donated $10,000 to the project within hours of its official launch, with the promise that there's no way the donor's brief appearance would land on the cutting room floor.
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Dohring is only the second original cast member to officially commit to reprising his role, but the hold-up is really just due to contract negotiations. "Don't worry. We're busily working on bringing your favorites into the fold," Thomas assures fans in his update.
Thomas told the Huffington Post after the Kickstarter launch that in addition to Dohring and the two other cast members who appeared in the Kickstarter announcement video with him and Bell — Enrico Colantoni, who played Veronica's sheriff dad, Keith, and Ryan Hansen, who played Logan's even d-baggier best friend, Dick — he'd also reached out to many more of the show's regular cast members. "Before we launched, I talked to Francis Capra [Eli 'Weevil' Navarro], Percy Daggs [Veronica's BFF Wallace], Tina Majorino [Veronica's other BFF, Mac] and Chris Lowell [Stosh 'Piz' Piznarski] and told them what we're doing and that I hoped they would be available and excited about it," he said. "They certainly all are, but we don't have them in deals yet. ... I have a lot of confidence that we're going to get them, we're just not there yet."
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The VM movie will revolve around the gang's 10-year high school reunion. "Having Veronica drawn back around the same time as her 10-year high school reunion allowed me a graceful way to include as many of the cast members as possible," Thomas told the Huffington Post.
Though there was no doubt a Veronica Mars movie could happen without some epic love story action with Logan, it's nice to know the ink is officially dry on Dohring's contract.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[Photo Credit: The WB]
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It's the finale! Finally! ¡Por fin! Enfin! Endlich! Yn olaf! This long and awkward road has come to an end and they're going to try and not let it peter out on that weird, vacant stretch down by the river. But no promises! At long last, Purrfect the Cat has spoken: we are finally ready, as a nation, to find out who in this great, wide, curious world has The Voice to end all voices! So we're going to get right to it, aren't we? Nope, no we're not! We're going to sing ourselves into oblivion. Might as well give all these kids one more chance to sing on a stage before irrelevancy kicks in, right? What? No! Who put that there! Bad intern, bad!
James, Jamar, and Pip are back to sing “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 with Jermaine. This is an adorable fellow explosion. This is the one direction other boy bands wanted to go down, you guys. I could gush about the total cupcake-status of all of these dudes, but I'm trying to come off as a totally blasé and apathetic blogger, so — you know. Whatever.
After Christina Milian's contractually obligated mistakes featuring Chris Mann's photobombs, we're treated to everyone's favorite actionable item: making celebrities seem like they're just like us. And what better way to do that than with the age-old blooper reel. Featuring: Noises! Carson's attempt at the funny (“as you'll see I like to do all my bloopers live”) just makes us all kind of sad.
NEXT: Flo Rida is too wild to actually sing
Onward and downward to the sunshine state of mind that is lip syncing! Featuring the aptly-named Flo Rida, who is “performing” with Juliet Simms his new single “Wild Ones.” Juliet was fine (still audibly sick), but Flo Rida is a catastrophe so you're not even getting a video link.
Chris Mann's last last last (last?) performance is The Verve's “Bittersweet Symphony” with Katrina Parker, Lindsey Pavao and her magical, bedazzled ear gunk. No one else is surprised he's wearing a velvet blazer, right? Just checking. This is actually a pretty interesting rendition considering how completely different they all are from each other.
Christina Milian talks to professional spiky giraffe weevil Flo Rida about dignitary relations in southeast Asia before moving onto the most pressing debate of our time: Is there a bromance afoot at the Circle K? The world is so captivated by the question: Will they or won't they? I imagine the producers (and Clarence St. Clair, to be honest) were salivating at the prospect of a potential homoerotic situation to throw Blake and Adam into. I imagine it went something like this.
NEXT: Hall & Oates: America's Original Bromosexuals...?
Hall & Oates are on the show because that movie 500 Days of Summer just came out, right? Oh, wait... you mean that came out years ago and there's no discernible reason they're here? Oh. Um. Well! They're performing “Rich Girl” anyway. Because they showed up, and who can resist the bountiful curls that sit atop the head of John Oates? Can you imagine if they performed “You Make My Dreams Come True” though? Probably too dangerous — Los Angeles would've experienced a self-imposed earthquake from all the dancing and joy. (I have a thing for old melodic pop bands. Here's lookin' at you, Steeley Dan!) Chris, Tony, and Jermaine are all up there playing second fiddle. I wish they had tambourines. Don't you wish they had tambourines? They should totally have some tambourines. Maybe some nice mod dresses with bowl cuts, too.
There's a few more video segments with the coaches but I can break it down for you as such:
Blake is the bumpkin
Cee Lo is the heartthrob
Christina is a diva
Adam is the hooker with a heart of gold
NEXT: The power of Ron Swanson is REAL
I want you all to know that we're in a fight, America. This thing is two hours long? No one told me this! I'm going to be up all night now. I'm getting too old, you guys. Too old for this.
“Superstition” is up next with some older rejects — they don't even get to perform with a finalist! I wasn't really paying attention though because that trumpet player has blinking lights on his fingers, so I can't even tell you what happened.
...WAIT! Amy Poehler? Holy cats, I'm so happy. Cee Lo and Ron Swanson. Oh my, oh my, oh my. I am dying. Dead. On the floor. Here lies the body of Alicia Lutes. She was overtaken by ecstatic glee from the sight of Ron Swanson in a Voice-chair. I don't even care that this is some sort of integrated marketing scheme. I am a sucker for Nick Offerman's mustache 100 percent of the time.
Jamar is getting his second performance of the night with Juliet, RaeLynn, and Erin for “With A Little Help From My Friends” in the style of Joe Cocker. There are balloons! Because friends are like balloons — full of helium that makes your voice sound funny when you inhale.
I don't have to care about Christina Milian after this, right? Do you think she was offended when the producers managed to do not one, but two homage segments to Purrfect the Cat, but nothing about all the brilliant, prize-winning journalism she's been giving us all season?
NEXT: He wants you to belieb
“Wanted You More” by Lady Antebellum is apparently a song that America really enjoys! So they are here to play it. I never got on this train so I can't really comment on their performance but I like that one guy's red acoustic guitar. I'll throw you a video bone here if you're into that sort of thing.
One more Tony Lucca performance. Will it be his new single “I Hate You Christina, Na-Na-Na-Boo-Boo?” Oh, was that a secret? Whoops! Well, okay, here instead is “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac with Jordis, who seems like a totally rad chick, but, meh. Here's some video for you Lucca fans who I've heard are now calling themselves Luccadoes (after his Twitter handle) because nicknaming yourself as a general fan base is always a really cute and fun and not-at-all annoying thing to do! Just go ask the Claymates.
Carson's been lying to me this entire time, too, FYI. It's been “a few short minutes” for 800 years. Not cool, Daly. So instead of just telling us who won the damn thing, we're treated to a performance by fetus sex symbol (ick) Justin Bieber. He has a new single! It is a song! I'm not going to say anything else because I have a not-so-irrational fear of the
What the hell do we know? A few months ago, we saw a little film called "The Specials" at the American Film Market (a place where production companies hawk lots of B-movies) and weren't all that impressed.
It has an unoriginal premise (a super-hero spoof, a la "Mystery Men"), a low-rent cast (it stars Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy and Paget Brewster), and the production values were of the no-frills variety (there's only one special-effects sequence, when all the heroes briefly display their powers, at the end of the movie). And, although it has some pretty funny moments, this is a talky movie with dialogue-driven jokes that certainly aren't for the kiddies.
If you'd asked us back then to predict the film's chances for mass exposure, we'd probably say it'd get a video release at best, and develop a cult following. So, it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that Regent Entertainment is releasing "The Specials" in theaters this fall.
Not only that, the film now has a great Web site (www.thespecials-movie.com), with bios of all the bumbling super heroes. There's The Weevil (Lowe), Amok (Kennedy), Nightbird (whose only discernible power is laying an egg), Mr. Smart (who's not so smart, natch), and the rest. Our fave was U.S. Bill, a super-strong idiot who got his powers via a "faulty tetanus shot," and who lives with his mom.
Like we said, what the hell do we know?
BABY GOT BACK: In case you haven't heard, Angelina Jolie will play Lara Croft, a female Indiana Jones-type character in the upcoming big-screen version of "Tomb Raider," based on the video game. And in case you haven't heard, Jolie has been putting on some weight for the film, which is shooting this summer.
"I finally got my ass back, 'cause I had lost weight. So I'm happy that I have my old ass back," she says in the latest Entertainment Weekly.