Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Mask

Movie Name: The Mask
Year of Release: 1994
Director: Chuck Russell
Stars: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni, Orestes Matacena, Nancy Fish, Joely Fisher, Kevin Grevioux, Reg E. Cathey, Jim Doughan, Denis Forest
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Director Chuck Russell made his name in the 80s as a director of low budget horror films: his first feature was one of Freddy Kruger's sequels ("A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors"), which he followed with "The Blob". "The Mask" was a more ambitious film for him, and it was also an adaptation of a comic book published by Dark Horse comics. The film follows the story of Stanley Ipkiss, a young bank employee who suddenly sees himself in the possession of a strange mask. Stanley is a meek and shy man, however when wearing the mask, his personality completely changes, and he becomes this super creature, aptly named "The Mask", who is a version of himself without any of the constraints or insecurities. Stanley finds himself as a target of a group of criminals, intent on robbing the local bank, and soon he's having to fight for his life and reputation, and also save the beautiful girl he just met.
"The Mask" was another surprise success of 1994, and further cemented the reputation and versatility of comedian Jim Carrey. The film has plenty of references to Looney Tunes and Tex Avery, and as such, it is indeed like a live action cartoon. The characters are sketched out roughly, but the film is more interested in depicting the level of insanity, absurd and non stop humor that is traditionally associated with cartoons. The film also benefits from fantastic visual effects, that further give Jim Carrey an elasticity to really expand on the capabilities of "The Mask". The film ends up being a comely comedy about a hero, that though on a first glance has the potential to be possibly edgy, in the end it's quite sedate and family oriented. An interesting comedy worth revisiting.