Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 3/30/00
Series - 1994 (1997) - New Line
review by Greg Suarez of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
101 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), full frame
(1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging,
commentary with director/co-producer Charles Russell, deleted
scenes, theatrical trailer, cast biographies/filmographies, scene
access (31 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (2.0),
subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned
"It's party time.
P-A-R-T-why? Because I gotta!"
The Mask is a film where the
total is greater than the sum of its parts. It's very hard to
categorize this movie, because it's so many things. It's a comedy,
an action movie and even romance, with a healthy dollop of
musicality. That being said, if any one of these elements were
suddenly deleted, the movie would really suffer.
Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) is an everyday kind of guy -- a banker
that leads a quiet and simple life. One night, he stumbles upon a
mysterious wooden mask. Stanley is compelled to wear the mask, at
which time he transforms into a green-faced, big-toothed creature
creatively named The Mask. The Mask is the incarnation of all of
Stanley's wildest desires and passions - the ones that he buries
deep within himself in his ordinary life. As The Mask, Stanley
becomes a wild, romantic and boisterous hero, who is able to get the
girl and thwart the bad guys. Problems arise in Edge City, when the
mask falls into the hands of the evil Dorian (Peter Greene), a
member of the local organized crime syndicate hell-bent on becoming
the head honcho in town. In his hands (or, more correctly, on his
face), the mask transforms Dorian into an incarnation and
amplification of all of his most evil passions and desires. Can
Stanley stop the bad guy and save the girl? The girl, by the way, is
Cameron Diaz in her first feature film role. She sizzles on screen
as Tina Carlyle, the local club dancer and girlfriend of Dorian who
just might have a crush on The Mask.
What makes this film work is the fact that it combines so many
genres in a most exciting manner. At times the movie feels like a
large-scale Broadway production. The sets are very stylized with
bold colors and flamboyant dressings. While The Mask might not have
a very sophisticated plot, or much in the way of character
development, it's a hell of a fun flick. But nothing's perfect. The
antics of The Mask get a little grating after a while. The point of
the character is to be as outrageous as possible, but it gets a
little old. Carrey reverts back and forth between the two characters
sporadically throughout the film, so the character of The Mask is
offered in relatively small portions. This is a huge redeeming value
for this movie. Also, I could have done without the "Cuban Pete"
musical number (chapter 21). This number goes on too long, and
really does not offer a whole lot to the plot. In fact, I would go
as far to say that it interrupts the pace of the movie. That said,
The Mask is still a visual feast that entertains.
This non-anamorphic DVD has a generally pleasing picture. Colors
are excellent, which is important to a stylized film such as this.
There are still several problems with the picture, including too
much edge enhancement, some moiré, and an ever so subtle haze
that seems to veil the picture. These problems are all very slight.
On their own, these would not be a terrible problem, but they all
work in tandem to cause a slightly sub-par visual presentation. It
sounds worse that it really is. An anamorphic widescreen
presentation would have cleared up all these picture anomalies. The
Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack excels at dynamics and spatiality. This
5.1 track makes effective use of the rear channel speakers, and
there are plenty of great directional sound effects. There are also
ample low frequency effects. This is a reference-quality Dolby
Digital soundtrack. For a great example of the soundtrack's
spaciousness and dimensional characteristics, check out the opening
of the film with the undersea divers - the soundtrack does an
excellent job of placing the listener in the ambience of an
The commentary track with director/co-producer Charles Russell is
one of the most entertaining I've heard. Russell has plenty to say
about the origin and production of The
Mask and it's never dull. There are also two deleted
scenes that were rightfully deleted.
Overall, The Mask is an
entertaining movie, which knocks on the doors of several different
genres. While not a terribly sophisticated movie, it's fun to watch.
The picture is good for not being anamorphically enhanced, and the
soundtrack is exciting and involving. This disc is s-s-s-s-mokin'!