There's lots to please Mars devotees in this big screen adaptation of the cult television series
Funded by its fans in a record-breaking outpouring of cash, Veronica Mars is the big-screen outing of Rob Thomas' cult, prematurely axed TV show of the same name, which focused on a teenage private eye.
The events of the show's three seasons are rattled through in a recap before we're introduced to present day Veronica, played of course by Kristen Bell. She's gone from anti-establishment sleuth to sleek, sophisticated New Yorker, blissfully happy with her nice-guy boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell) and about to enter the world of corporate law.
However when her bad-boy ex Logan (Jason Dohring) is accused of murdering his rock star girlfriend and their old classmate Carrie (Andrea Estella, confusingly replacing the TV series' Leighton Meester), Veronica is drawn back to her hometown of Neptune, California, which remains a hotbed of class conflict and police corruption. To her dismay, she's right on time for her ten year high school reunion.
As you might expect from the crowd-funded film of a much-loved TV show, there's lots to please devotees, sometimes at the expense of alienating newbies. All the show's major players are present (including Enrico Colantoni as Veronica's dad and verbal sparring partner), there's an early nod to Kickstarter and Veronica describes herself as a marshmallow (the name adopted by Veronica Mars uber-fans and the way she's described in the very first episode).
Thomas makes for a competent if unspectacular feature director and the writing is characteristically sassy, even if it can't compete with the show's finest hours. Bell, as ever, inhabits Veronica with spiky aplomb (she's not been gifted anything close to the show since). And if the balance between reintroducing its large cast, making room for cameos and maintaining momentum for its mystery isn't quite struck, for fans at least, the return of the girl called Mars is something to savour.
Selected release from Fri 14 Mar.