Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Veronica Mars Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Following a successful theatrical release that was spurred into development by a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, Veronica Mars arrives onto Blu-ray and DVD on May 6 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Veronica Mars (Bell) has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her on the eve of graduating law school. While interviewing at high-end law firms, Veronica gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan (Dohring) who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don’t seem right with how Logan’s case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
If ever there was a movie that screamed “watch the television show before the movie” this is it. The movie jumps right into the universe of the show. Since the show ended, Veronica (Kristen Bell) has left her hometown of Neptune and has put aside her days as a young detective. She is also about to take the bar exam after graduating from law school and is now living in New York. Veronica has a successful relationship with “Piz” aka Stosh Piznarski (Chris Lowell) from Neptune and is interviewing for a promising new job at a law firm lead by Gayle Buckley (Jamie Lee Curtis). If hired in this new position, Veronica's job would be to help make frivolous lawsuits disappear. Ironically, it's her past training at Mars Investigations working for her father Keith (Enrico Colantoni) which has prepared her so well for such work. 

Although it appears that the world of Neptune is just a distant memory, a cry for help from old love Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) puts Veronica right in the thick of it. Rescuing her ex is a slippery slope as Logan has been accused of murder and all the evidence points towards his guilt. Veronica spends hours, and then days working the case, putting her relationship, her new job and even her life in jeopardy.

Along for the ride are all the “old gang”, including Mac (Tina Majorino),Wallace Fennell (Percy Daggs, III), Leo D’Amato (Max Greenfield) and Weevil (Francis Capra). After the watching the special features, I’m convinced that creator Rob Thomas knows what he’s doing. This film is clearly a labor of love and it was made with fans in mind. The film seemed a little slow to me at times and didn’t grab me the way the show did. I did love to see Veronica and her father reunited. Veronica was always a teenager who acted like an adult. It’s interesting to see her relate to and joke with her father as an adult. There are numerous genuinely touching moments between Keith and Veronica.

Fans of Veronica Mars will rejoice now that the movie has been finally released on Blu- ray. I considered myself to be one of those fans, and although I enjoy the show I realize now that there are true die hard fans who backed the film financially and traveled long distances to see the movie in theaters during its limited release. I thoroughly enjoyed the series but I wish I’d reviewed the show before I dove into the movie. There is a lot I like about this film. It wasn't quite what I expected. Even though I now know the answer to the mystery it won't ruin the film for me as this movie will definitely hold up to repeat viewings.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Warner Bros does not disappoint with the 1080p high definition presentation of Veronica Mars. The film noir type movie is expectedly dark and the muted black levels work well with the overall tone and texture. The film is not without digital noise but it does have great detail.
Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Veronica Mars’ DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track is decent but not perfect. There are minor issues with unintelligible dialogue during car rides with too much environmental noise. For a lower budget film, the audio experience is more well rounded than I would have expected and is certainly sufficient for this film.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
The list of special features looks deceptively small. The behind the scenes about the fans is almost an hour in length and is well worth the time.
  • Behind the Scenes: By the Fans: The Making of the Veronica Mars Movie (54 min) – A featurette that’s as much about the actors and filmmakers as it is about the fans. This lengthy extra takes you from the lunch of the Kickstarter campaign all the way through the final day of production and beyond to the Comic Con events.
  • Behind the Scenes: More On-Set Fun – A behind the scenes look separated into the following categories - “Welcome to Keith Mars Investigations”; “Game Show with Kristen Bell and Chris Lowell”, “On Set with Max Greenfield”; “Veronica Mars Backers”; “It’s Not All About You, Monkey” and “Young Veronica”
  • Deleted Scenes – Four deleted scenes. The one about the landlord gave a random bit of information that made the scene in the film make a bit more sense.
  • Gag Reel – 4 ½ minutes of line flubs, laughs and jokes.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Veronica Mars was certainly a labor of love for the cast and crew and it shows in the final product and even more so in the behind the scenes featurettes. The entire process of having a show cancelled and a movie finally made has me thinking of Joss Whedon and "Firefly." I’m not the type of Veronica Mars fan that remembers every detail but I can appreciate that so many of the shows characters appear in the film. If you haven’t seen the television show much of the details will be lost on you. Veronica Mars was made possible thanks to a record breaking fan response to a Kickstarter campaign. Knowing that I don’t mind that it was clearly directed at the die hard fans. Veronica Mars is a good movie, it’s not a great movie. It’s entertaining and worth adding to your collection if you enjoyed the show as I did. If you did not like the show I do not expect there is anything in this movie that would change your mind.

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