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Neptune, Revisited: A Quasi-Review of the Veronica Mars Movie

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I’ve been sitting on this review of the Veronica Mars Movie for a while now, and it’s mostly because I went on a short trip and I had to take care of work stuff before that, when it was the most opportune time to do so. However, I have to keep reminding myself that “late reactions” don’t necessarily mean that opinions are invalid and irrelevant. Just late.

This will also be chock-full of spoilers. You have been warned.

I’ve written about the movie previously, for an article in Supreme, though I focused on fan love and the Kickstarter aspect of it. You can read it, if that interests you: On Veronica Mars, Kickstarter, and the Power of LoVe. For all intents and purposes of this post, however, I’d like to let off a little steam as a “fan from the start.”

Carina love you long time, after all.

OK, so first things first, I loathe Lo/Ve. There, I said it. I understand the appeal of it. I understand the lure of it, but I do not subscribe to it, and I do not like it. I went into the series after seeing an LJ icon made from a screencap of the 4th episode, “The Wrath of Con.” Then I was hooked! But, unlike most fans, I wasn’t into Logan, at all. I found him annoying and wanted to punch him in the face. I’m not moved by a lot of poor little rich boy storylines, so that probably didn’t help his case for sympathy. I mean, he paid hobos to beat each other up! I do not like him (though I do find him really hilarious, especially ca. Season 1, which is to say that he changed so much in the later seasons), their relationship made no sense to me, and I actually relished the fact that they probably didn’t end up together post-season 3. That “epic” speech makes me cringe. Unpopular opinion, I know.

(OK, I changed my mind. It’s kind of really sweet. But I kind of liked Logan and Lilly together more than this speech, lol. However destructive their relationship turned out to be, they made more sense to me. They fit. But we all know how that story turned out, so forget I said anything.)

When Rob Thomas first launched the Kickstarter project for the movie, I was on board like that. Even if non-US backers were not allowed to pledge at the time, I FOUND A WAY. If I couldn’t get a season 4, a movie is a damn nice alternative. Of course, I knew right off the bat that Logan was going to be there. I was just really happy that the FBI storyline thrown around shortly after the series’ cancellation was not happening.

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So, the movie opens several years after season 3. Veronica has graduated with a law degree from Stanford and is interviewing for jobs at law firms, poised to take the bar in a few weeks. She is with a new and improved, works in This American Life with a better haircut Stosh “Piz” Piznarksi 2.0—who, by the way, I actually liked a lot—and she lives with him in good ol’ NYC. They already have their own stable, awesome, and cool little lives, basically.

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It’s also time for Veronica’s 10th high school reunion and despite repeatedly rejecting everyone else’s desperate invitations for Veronica to come home to Neptune, she is pulled right back into its orbit, into everything she left behind by none other than another Logan problem. Logan is accused of murder—again—and needs her help—again.

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Here’s the thing: I actually really liked watching the movie, while I was watching the movie, and it was mostly because I got to see everyone again. However, by the 4th or 5th old character cameo, it was just starting to feel just like a high school reunion, made up of insubstantial hi’s and hello’s. Kind of a sad one, too, since by the end of the film, it seemed like no one made anything of their lives. It was as if no one grew up and they were just somehow frozen in a Sisyphean mess, where they just end up right back where they started when I first met them. It was like a rerun that was re-made 10 years later because certain scenes went missing.

I mean, if you needed to explain what “fan service” was to a Veronica Mars fan, just give them this film.

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(Speaking of fan service, here is a screencap of Deputy Leo, just because. Hee.)

I don’t even know where to begin. I just missed the whole gang so much, that the initial viewing made me blind to a lot of things I ended up having a problem with. Basically, my biggest frustration is that everything just goes back to the way it was. One could argue that it’s back to “the way it’s supposed to be” and that they’re where they belong, and frankly, that just pisses me off. I read an interview with Rob Thomas where he says that they wrote in the idea of addiction into it, and I guess everything was written to make that ending work out.

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It just feels like everything else played second fiddle to the whole Logan/Veronica romance and just overall made very little sense and ended up feeling like rushed fan fiction. Even the inclusion of certain characters just felt useless, as though they were there just for the sake of being there. Even the mystery was so random. It tried to root itself into the characters’ pasts, but it didn’t even work out all that well. Why would new and improved Navy Seal Logan be involved with high school classmate turned pop star Carrie Bishop in the first place? How the heck did that happen? I mean, no wonder they wouldn’t have been able to make this work outside of the Kickstarter model. No one would know what was going on half the time.

I have yet to actually talk to a non-fan who saw the film… It just feels very insular (whereas Firefly’s movie spin-off, Serenity, could stand-alone as a movie, though is not without its faults, of course) and it makes me feel a little betrayed in a way, because we don’t get to see Veronica grow up and make a life that’s just her own, away from the destructive world she already got to leave behind. Just because you’re addicted to something, doesn’t mean that that’s the path you take.

That whole angle is also very revealing of what drives and motivates Veronica as a person, and I’m not so sure that I admire that in her. Thomas has stated that part of the reason she returned to Neptune is that she is in her element, doing detective work. I don’t see how her skills couldn’t be put to use in the court of law or any other field that didn’t end up with her being sucked back in again.

It ended up feeling pretty hopeless to me, like a declaration of “this is where they truly belong” and that coupled with that scene of Weevil returning to that his motorcycle gang (???) really broke my heart. Smashed it into smithereens. Wallace seemingly giving up his dreams of becoming an engineer to become a high school coach at his own high school? Another heart mess. Mac working at Veronica’s Detective Agency? My heart is a pool of mush. And, Dick, remind me again how old you are.

It’s like everything and everyone just remained where you left them, seven years ago, and it depresses me more than it aggravates me. It doesn’t make sense, and I suppose I was just rooting for all of them to make it out of Neptune, sane, successful, and not accused of murder. It also feels odd that the characters feel extremely one-dimensional, even after three seasons of character development in place. Who are these people? They’re back where they were, but I don’t recognize them at all.

This ended up being more of a complain-y tirade than a review, huh? I just. I don’t get it. Isa asked me if I felt sorry that I helped fund it, which is pretty funny, considering my pledge probably just bought them lunch for three people or something, but honestly… I don’t feel bad, but I just wish the movie was more about the characters and their stories than ours. I wish they took more care of their world than our collective fan feelings.

I think, maybe, for fans who loved Veronica Mars for things other than Lo/Ve, it wasn’t as satisfying. I don’t know. I’m confused but more disappointed than happy about it, I think.
Teddy Dunn, who played Duncan in the first two seasons, actually took the road I hoped Veronica would have taken, out of Neptune. Teddy graduated from law school a year ago. We don’t hear from him anymore, especially in Mars-land, but I’ve got a feeling that he’s doing just fine.

How did you find the movie? I’m in the middle of doing a rewatch, and I was thinking of posting episode recaps or something, though I’m already about a third into the first season, so I don’t know about that.