You can breathe a deep sigh of relief, marshmallows. Veronica Mars is back and, according to early reviews, it’s with a bang.
The show’s first silver screen effort was backed largely by fans after show creator Rob Thomas launched a Kickstarter campaign to secure funding, reaching the film’s $2m goal in under twelve hours with 91,585 backers eventually raising a record-setting $5.7m.
Last night marked the movie’s debut screening at the SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas. Here’s what the lucky few inside the cinema made of the return of Veronica Mars (played by Kristen Bell) and her camera lens…
Six years of “thunderous internet fandom” was “worth the wait”, according to The Guardian.”This isn’t a wallowing love letter, it’s brand spankin’ new Veronica Mars,” reviewer Matt Patches continues before teasing cameos that are “too fun to spoil” and praising Bell for playing it with “the sharp wit, keen intellect, and mushy empathy that gave us a reason to love Veronica in the first place.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is a “solid cinematic turn for the Nancy Drew of the new millennium, sure to delight crowdfunding backers and other fans of the source series.” Sheri Linden also reserves high praise for Bell, who is “is in fine form as the sharp-witted and stiletto-tongued Veronica, whose high polish on the art of sarcasm has endeared her to fans as a supremely self-possessed outsider.” However, she does reserve criticism for Thomas whose “direction, especially of the villainous roles, gives a lot of the action a self-conscious, not-quite-real quality.”
Writing in Variety, Justin Chang bemoans the lack of a “case particularly worthy of [Veronica’s] talents”, but concedes that likely won’t matter much to the show’s “die-hard cultists”. Chang continues, “it’s smooth and engaging enough on its own compromised terms, clearly informed by Thomas’ genre-savvy storytelling and unpretentious craftsmanship, and not without a certain self-deprecating sense of humor about its own immodest origins.”
Hitfix calls the movie “a blast,” while acknowledging that “the fans’ advance investment in it made Thomas feel an extra obligation to satisfy them.” But while Alan Sepinwall concedes the film pays homage to its original viewers, “Thomas and [co-writer] Ruggiero have found a way to make a movie that the fans will love without straight-up pandering to them.” He is full of praise for the show’s transfer to the silver screen, stating, “The scope feels bigger, the look is richer, and the focus on who Veronica is and why she’s so good at this job goes much deeper than the show usually did.”
And finally, Indiewire reassures expectant fans, announcing, “it is something of a relief to report that the movie version of the series, while not without its flaws, fundamentally maintains the heart and intrigue of the television series, but in a miniaturised, less nuanced form.”
Veronica Mars gets a limited UK cinema release on 14 March. Watch the first two minutes below…