Sunday 3 November 2013

A long time ago we used to be friends...Veronica Mars is back!

Vigilante Detective Veronica Mars is finally making it to the big screen…… 
Thanks to the fans.

If you are a Veronica Mars fan, get ready to drink the Kool-Aid again because the (not-so-teen anymore) sleuth is finally bringing her adventures to the silver screen. With the release of the first official docu-trailer this week, the Veronica Mars (VM) team, with creator Rob Thomas at the helm, have demonstrated the enormous power of a committed fanbase. Earlier this year, after years of trying to get the movie off the ground Rob Thomas and several key cast members (including Kristen Bell herself), sent out a call on social media for fans to contribute to the ‘kickstarter project’ which would raise funds for a VM movie production. While Warner Bros were happy for the movie to be made, they had reportedly indicated that they weren’t actually willing to pay for its production. 

And so, the ‘kickstarter’ project was born. Kickstarter is a web-based vehicle for independent creative teams to seek public funding for their projects. Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell and several other cast members created a promotional video seeking funding through Kickstarter to get the project off the ground – you can see them here in a hilarious video promising ‘rewards’ to those who pledge a contribution (if only I had gotten on board earlier I could have had a personally recorded answering machine message from Kristen herself).

Amazingly, within 12 hours of launching the kickstarter campaign, the VM movie reached a massive $2 million in pledges. By the end of the funding campaign they succeeded in raising over $5 million, and broke a number of kickstarter records while doing it.

Fans clearly love this show. And thanks to the fans this movie will be coming to our screens in 2014. But what is so great about Veronica Mars? On the surface it may have seemed like just another high school teen drama, but at its core, it was a show that celebrated the empowered (yet flawed) heroine, and it took the noir detective genre to a whole new generation. As a major character, Veronica was not only intelligent , articulate and independent, but she also had a strength of character that enabled her to pursue justice with angry power and confidence. As a ‘detective’ Veronica was able to defend herself against both cops and criminals, and more crucially against the social elite. As an ‘outsider’ herself through most of the series, she regularly took a stand for the marginalized. And these personal qualities, along with her wry sense of humour and wit, endeared her to the fans.

But for me, it was her vigilante-esque quality that stood out most from this series. Veronica existed within a somewhat lawless Neptune - a world where the justice system is corrupt and the audience was encouraged to support Veronica as she resorted to a form of vigilantism to regain some power and control within her particular landscape. Interestingly, Veronica’s sense of justice was based on a subjective, emotional and personal notion of what is ‘right’ in any given situation, and most importantly, this was usually contrasted with the standard of the prevailing institutional justice system. 

see early promo video here
It looks like this theme is to be continued in the film, as Veronica (newly graduated from law and in New York to land a job) returns to Neptune to defend an old friend against the contaminated justice system. Intriguingly, it is not evident in the trailer as to whether Veronica will deploy her newly acquired legal acumen and knowledge to provide this defence (ie actually provide a legal defence in court); or if in returning to Neptune she returns to the old school methods of good old investigation (ie cameras, stake outs, computer hacking etc).  Either way, let’s hope the old charm and wit has not been lost in law school, and that her legal education only adds to her awesome skills in deduction! 

Til then, MARShmallows, I'm Team Logan!

1 comment:

  1. One of the most interesting things about Veronica Mars as a show is the complete lack of redeeming characteristics given to the police department. Lamb and his deputies are not just bad at their jobs, but seem completely uninterested in the idea of achieving justice at all. Lamb's spite for the Mars family clouds his judgement in almost every episode, regardless of how often they might try to cooperate with him and his investigations (more so with the bus crash than with the Lilly Kane case). The police are portrayed as bumbling, ineffectual, rude and mean spirited. Lamb is happy whenever he gets a chance to embarrass or arrest Veronica, convinced that she is the spawn of Satan (think of the episode where Veronica is arrested for supplying fake IDs).

    This is most interesting because Veronica and Keith are hardly infallible, but the utter incompetence of the police department makes the Mars' mistakes pale in comparison. When Veronica decides someone is guilty, she is gung-ho about making them pay for their perceived crime. This is presumably a combination of her age (as mature as she is, she is still a teenager) and her constant disappointment at the response of legal institutions to injustice. Veronica is actually a great example of why vigilantes come to exist, as she experiences SO MUCH injustice in her young life that she loses all faith the justice system. Her rape is laughed off as a petty complaint (and possibly a lie), her best friend's murderer is set free, the poor are constantly harassed by police while the rich get off scot free.

    Ultimately, the show sets up two conflicts that strike at the heart of the public's concerns with the legal system: inequality between classes, and an inability for legal institutions to achieve justice. By portraying Neptune as a place where the rich and poor coexist but live such enormously separate lives, the inequities are highlighted and exposed. Families like the Kanes, Echolls's and Casablacas's use their immense wealth to cheat (and beat) the system. As a result, people like Veronica go outside the law to achieve the justice they believe they have been robbed of.