Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #3 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today I’ll be talking one of my favourite films from the 90’s in the form of The Mask.
Ah yes, this is my time. The Mask is one of my all-time favourite films of the 90’s and I watched it a fair amount of times in my childhood, it wasn’t until my late teens that I found out that The Mask was actually based on a comic books series from Dark House Comics. I’ve actually been meaning to review this film since I rewatched it a few years ago, but since I’ve started this series of posts again, now seems like a good time to talk about it.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“Bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss lives a pretty dull and troubled life, however his world is changed forever when he finds a mysterious mask and when he wears it he transforms into a manic superhero.”
The story is an interesting one. This a story about an ordinary guy becoming extra ordinary but also about discovering what makes him special and discovering what it means to be a hero as well. It is the kind of story we’ve seen before but it is handled in this film with the right amount of style, humour and heart to make it believable. There is a heavy focus on humour and it really works, it is a fusion of physical and verbal and a lot of it works thanks to the great cast, but also because of the witty dialogue and great pop culture references. Considering how light-hearted the animated series was, this does seem pretty dark and mature by comparison, sure it isn’t as dark or as violent as the comics but it does have its moments dark humour and adult themes not exactly meant for children.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Jim Carrey just kills it as Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask. It may seem like Carrey is just being himself especially after seeing Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, however with Ace he’s a crazy character with not a lot of depth. Here, Stanley is a good guy stuck in a less than satisfactory life, you can sympathise with the guy because he’s nice, but he’s treated like rubbish. So when his luck starts to change you root for him and hope that he’ll succeed. Plus as the Mask the guy is a crazy whirlwind of fun, acting like a living and breathing cartoon spouting quotes from films, creating things out of nothing and driving his enemies insane with his actions. Carrey acts with the just the right balance of humour and emotion to carry this film. And then there’s Cameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle… All I can say is DAMN! This was the acting debut of Diaz and my god, I think she was the hottest woman in existence in this film. Every time I see her in this film I can’t believe my eyes and mind can’t comprehend her hotness. Tina is a lovely, sweet and caring character who just happens to be extremely gorgeous and when she meets Stanley the two of them really hit it off. For her first acting performance Diaz does pretty well and has really good chemistry with Carrey as both Ipkiss and the Mask. Peter Greene as Dorian Tyrell, does a really good job as the mobster who wants to take over the city’s underworld. Greene acts with the right amount of charisma and aggressiveness that makes him both intimidating and cool.
Richard Jeni as Charlie Schumaker is a lot of fun as Stanley’s best friend and colleague. Jeni acts with a good sense of charm and humour and he has a good bromance with Stanley. Peter Riegert is really good as Lt. Mitch Kellaway, he’s strict, mean and very by-the-books when it comes to the law, that and he has beef against Stanley and Riegert is just delightful in this role. Jim Doughan is just as good as Det. Doyle, as Lt. Kellaway’s partner he provides much of the comic relief that doesn’t come from the Mask because of his foolishness. Amy Yasbeck does well as Peggy Brandt, she’s the cute and perky reporter and I really like her dialogue and moments with Stanley.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is pretty good. The main thing that stands out in this department is the CGI, while it definitely shows its age these days, for the 90’s it was pretty impressive how well the special effects were blended with the live-action material. I really like how animated and cartoon-like the Mask is with crazy movements and facial expressions, Industrial Light & Magic did such a good job. I also have to mention how much I like the two dance numbers in this film, the first with the Mask and Tina is one of my favourite moments in film, that scene has so much style, humour, energy and is beautifully choreographed. And the second dance in the street with the police is another great moment thanks to the bizarre and humourous moments sprinkled in between the dancing. As for the soundtrack, Randy Edelman does a really good job creating a score that is dark, mysterious, creepy and yet charming. In addition to that the song “Hey! Pachuco!” by Royal Crown Revue is one of my all-time favourite songs, it is a badass jam full of sass, energy, charm and is impossible not to like.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well I’ve never read any of the Mask comics, however I do know from research that besides the concept of the mask and its powers are mostly intact, but the origins of its power were changed, the Mask is less of a murdering psychopath and more of a crazy hero, the violence was toned down and switched for a more comedic tone.
So to conclude The Mask is still a really fun, interesting and humourous film with an awesome central performance from Jim Carrey. It is really is one of those unconventional kind of outings in the superhero genre because of its comedic tone and lack of standard comic book codes and conventions, however it is still a pretty cool film and I would urge anyone who is interested to give it a watch.
That’s 3 reviews done, only 27 more to go. So have you seen The Mask and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!