The Mask (1994)

Rating: PG
Length: 1h 41
Release: 19.8.1994
Dir: Chuck Russell
About: Stanley, an easy-going bank employee, turns into an eccentric green-skinned being who can bend reality after wearing a wooden mask that is inhabited by Loki who is a Norse god.

First Thoughts

This isn’t a film I’d seen all the way through before today. my first experience was during a week away with school. It was put on for the whole group but when asked for people to go on the shop run, I volunteered as tribute. I was never one for film watching with the hyper and disengaged.
The next attempt at watching this came when this was THE film on Christmas Day. Completely unheard of today given how easy is to access movies, however this was my one chance to watch this film and I fell asleep. Only other film I really remember this happening with is The Bodyguard after I’d spent the day at the ITV Studios and it remains, to this day, a film I’ve yet to watch.

The Good

  • While it’s not my thing, I cannot deny that Jim Carey is a master when it comes to this over-blown comedy with a larger-than-life character. From the impersonations to what have now become iconic and quotable one-liners, Carey hits all the notes with an effective precision.
  • While the over-sexualisation of Cameron Diaz irks me somewhat, I have to accept that its part of the time in which it was made and totally a reflection of the characters that watch her walk into the bank. I couldn’t imagine anyone better in the role and she does work well with Carey.

The Bad

  • I think I’ve been spoiled by another mouthy, off the wall anti-hero in the past few years. The Mask I feel is a story much of the same ilk as the Merc with the Mouth and would have been better suited as a darker, more violent affair. As it stands it is too tame for a general audience, but there are some jokes that just don’t seem at home in a PG outing. I have found out since watching it, that the source material is much similar to Deadpool, which only reaffirms my opinion that was pitched to the wrong audience.
  • The murky landscape of the city with the day glow prominence when The Mask reminds me to much of what would become of Tim Burton’s Gotham once he leaves the franchise. While Batman Forever came long after this, the memory still taints this somewhat.
  • I’m sold on Carey as the Mask. i’m not sure he works as well as Stanley. Interestingly enough, those who I feel would have been up for portraying Stanley, I’m not sure could give a convincing The Mask.

The Ugly

  • While a lot of the effects do still stand up owing to the comic book style of the character and the narrative, there are a few that just don’t quite work. When it comes to the flattening of the Mask early in the film, it has been done better in something like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? When you’ve used a lot of Carey’s physicality to do away with some need for CGI, it’s a shame that they couldn’t embrace using some physical effects too.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about the times in which Carey/ The Mask breaks the fourth wall. The biggest problem of it being that its used quite a lot in quick succession and then it doesn’t happen again.
  • I would argue that this is also rather badly edited. From odd cuts that move characters and seem to miss out dialogue to references that don’t make sense I feel as if we’re left with a disjointed film.

Final Thoughts

Upon watching this time, it would appear I wasn’t asleep for very long. Perhaps the feeling that I’d missed something important was due to editing. As it stands, I really hadn’t missed much and I really could have done without watching it again.

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