Peter Travers has a marshmallow with him on At the Movies this week, not to satisfy his sweet tooth, but in honor of the Veronica Mars movie, which finally sees release after being funded by a stunningly successful Kickstarter project started by the show’s creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell.
Veronica Mars began as a TV show in the mid-2000s about the titular teenaged detective played by Bell. It was never a huge hit, but was critically adored and became a cult favorite with a rabid fan base who took to referring to themselves as “Marshmallows,” after, as Travers explains, Mars was called the sweet treat in the pilot – tough on the outside to protect a soft, sweet center. It was the Marshmallows’ support on Kickstarter that helped make the Veronica Mars movie happen after Warner Bros. dismissed Thomas and Bell’s initial movie pitch.
Travers admits the film might be a bit confusing for those who never watched Veronica Mars, but points out how remarkable its creation is in and of itself. Thomas and Bell offered supporters anything from autographed scripts to Bell recording your voice mail message – one $10,000 donator even earned a small role as a TV host in the movie. “They made a movie happen just because they wanted it to,” Travers says. “They said, ‘Screw the studio system, we hate you, screw Hollywood, we’re gonna put this out there.’ And you know what, I think that’s a quiet kind of revolution.”
Travers’ admits he likes the Kickstarter funding model a bit more than the movie itself, which catches up with Mars, a successful New York lawyer who returns to her hometown of Neptune, California to solve a murder that involves her ex-boyfriend. “If you’re a marshmallow, you’re there,” Travers says. “But if you’re not, you oughta pay a little attention because I think Veronica Mars in its own way is gonna change things, and I, for one, am happy about that.”