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The Mask

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The Mask
220px-The Mask (film) poster.jpg
"It's party time! P-A-R-T—Y? Because I GOTTA!"
Genre: Superhero
Comedy
Crime
Action
Directed By: Chuck Russell
Produced By: New Line Productions
Dark Horse Entertainment
Written By: Michael Fallon
Mark Verheiden
Based On: The Mask by Dark Horse Comics
Starring: Jim Carrey
Peter Riegert
Peter Greene
Amy Yasbeck
Richard Jeni
Cameron Diaz
Cinematography: John R. Leonetti
Distributed By: New Line Cinema
Release Date: July 29, 1994
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $18-23 million
Box Office: $351.6 million
Franchise: The Mask
Sequel: Son of the Mask


The Mask is a 1994 American superhero comedy film directed by Chuck Russell, produced by Bob Engelman, and written by Mike Werb, loosely based on the Mask comics published by Dark Horse Comics. The first installment in the Mask franchise, it stars Jim Carrey in the title role, Peter Riegert, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni, and Cameron Diaz in her film debut. Carrey plays Stanley Ipkiss, a hapless, everyday bank clerk who finds a magical mask that transforms him into The Mask, a green-faced troublemaker with the ability to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will who later on becomes a crimefighter, only to become targeted by gangster Dorian Tyrell, who desires to overthrow his superior.

Plot

Stanley Ipkiss, a hapless, everyday bank clerk who finds a magical mask that transforms him into The Mask, a green-faced troublemaker with the ability to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will who later on becomes a crimefighter, only to become targeted by gangster Dorian Tyrell, who desires to overthrow his superior.

Why It's Sssssmoking!

  1. Top-notch acting from the cast. Including Jim Carrey (Stanley Ipkiss), Peter Greene (Dorian Tyrell), Cameron Diaz (Tina Carlyle), Orestes Matacena (Niko), Peter Riegert (Lieutenant Mitch Kellaway), Jim Doughan (Detective Doyle), Richard Jeni (Charles "Charlie" Schumaker), Amy Yasbeck (Peggy Brandt), and Jeremy Roberts (Bobby).
  2. The whole idea of the mask (a device with the ability to control people's bodies but not their minds, meaning that the user could literally make you do anything they wanted to while you are fully conscious and aware of what's going on) is a very interesting one, and needless to say, it was amazingly executed.
    • The mask's effects are truly shown after Stanley first puts on the mask. And his alter ego, The Mask, comes out and despite deciding to become a gangster instead of a hero, he still decide to get revenge on those who have bullied Stanley such as those mechanics who ripped Stanley off by shoving exhaust pipes in their bottoms literally and despite being harassed by a gang, The Mask still decided to shoot around them instead of killing them outright as a warning for never try to harass him again.
  3. Memorable and clever dialogue, including:
    • "Do you know how hard it is to find a decent man in this town? Most of them think monogamy is some kind of wood."
    • "SNOOZE!"
    • "No, I don't smoke, but for you? I'd shoot the Surgeon General!"
    • "No. It wasn't me. It was the one-armed man."
    • "Somebody stole your pajamas?"
    • "THAT'S A SPICY MEATBALL!"
    • "Hold on to you lug nuts it's time for an overhaul!"
    • "I'm just an ex-employee! Who's looking for his backpay, or should I say payback?!"
    • "Look ma, I'm roadkill! Ha ha ha!"
    • "Better than ever, you idiot!"
    • "It's PARTY time! P-A-R-T-Why? Because I gotta!"
  4. The movie's probably best known for it's outstanding comedy. And while they are the quotes that are mentioned in the previous point, there are still other hilarious moments throughout the entirety of the film. These include (but are certainly not limited to) Dorian demanding to know where his money is, and The Mask decides to tell him precisely where and Stanley trying to convince the mask expert, Dr. Neuman, that the Mask is magical, much to the latter's disapproval.
  5. Awesome actions sequences like Stanley breaking out of jail and Stanley fighting Dorian without the power of the Mask.
  6. The CGI effects look shockingly good for the 1990s and don't look dated even by today's standards. Because unlike most instances of this animation form being incorporated in live-action at the time, it holds up surprisingly well to this day and look pretty convincing. It also helps that they aren't spectacle so much as necessity, as a live-action movie about a man turning into a living cartoon character can't really be done without these kind of computer graphics.
  7. While most of the movie revolves around comedy and some rather crude examples of it for that matter, it still has it's fair share of heartwarming moments. For example, Stanley's interactions with Tina throughout the whole movie are so sweet. It would've been so easy to make him a sleaze or a creep being only nice to Tina because she's attractive. But he is genuinely kind and cares about her safety when he says to her to get out of town when Dorian now has the mask and is going to cause chaos.
  8. The characters are no short of incredibly likable and unforgettable. And as Wikipedia describes them:
    • Stanley Ipkiss, the main protagonist, is an everyday polite, nice, kind, bank account businessman who is mistreated and taken advantage of by people. But after finding the Mask, he became a mischievous, good-hearted, green-faced figure called The Mask who has the ability to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will; this is implied to be the representation of Stanley's preferred fantasies about himself.
    • Dorian Tyrell is a mafia officer who desires to overthrow his superior, Niko. He is an insane, psychopathic, manipulative, ambitious, arrogant, paranoid and selfish individual with scant regard for those lives destroyed as a result of his ambition. When wearing the Mask, Tyrell becomes a bulky and malevolent being that speaks in a deep demonic voice; this is implied to be the representation of his malice.
    • Tina Carlyle is Tyrell's glamorous and beautiful girlfriend who is also attracted to Stanley. Tina is dissatisfied with Tyrell as a partner but does not defy him until she has been courted by his rival.
  9. Great soundtrack with songs like Cuban Pete (C & C Pop Radio Edit) by Jim Carrey, Let the Good Times Roll by Fishbone, Who's That Man? by Xscape, Hey! Pachuco! by Royal Crown Revue, and (I Could Only) Whisper Your Name by Harry Connick Jr. among many others.
  10. The ending is satisfying and wraps up the film nicely: Tina tricks Tyrell into taking off the mask, which is recovered and donned by Milo, who battles his way through Tyrell's henchmen as Stanley and Tyrell fight against each other. After recovering the mask, Stanley uses it to save Tina by disposing of the bomb seconds before it detonates and then defeat Tyrell by sending him down the drain of the club's ornamental fountain. The police arrive and arrest Tyrell's henchmen. Kellaway attempts to arrest Stanley again, but Tilton intervenes, telling Kellaway and the police that Tyrell was the Mask all along as a way of releasing Stanley. After Stanley and his allies leave, Tilton informs Kellaway that he needs to have a serious meeting with him in the morning. The following day, Stanley, now exonerated and not wanting to encounter the police again, decides to dispose of the mask at the harbor, informing Tina that he will henceforth just be himself. She discards it before sharing a kiss with Stanley, who exclaims the Mask's catchphrase, "Smokin'!". During this, Charlie tries to retrieve the mask for himself, only for Milo to swim away with it (also as Wikipedia puts it).
  11. "Let's Rock This Joint!"

Bad Qualities

  1. Dorian Mask only gets one real use out of his powers (not counting the deleted scenes), which can feel like a waste of potential. Fortunately the character is intimidating enough for this to easily be disregarded.
  2. The plot, while interesting and well-executed, can get a bit cheesy at times and is no short of nonsensical.
  3. All the CGI, while it's not really dated, isn't the best-looking at this day and age, mostly when his head turns into a wolf, when he starts whistling his arm obviously looks a bit cropped, but the CGI is still good.

Reception

The Mask received critical acclaim for it's effects, characters, comedy, and story. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a "Certified Fresh" approval rating of 79% based on reviews from 52 critics, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's consensus states: "It misses perhaps as often as it hits, but Jim Carrey's manic bombast, Cameron Diaz's blowsy appeal, and the film's overall cartoony bombast keep The Mask afloat." The film received a 6.9/10 on IMDb. Metacritic gave it a weighted average score of 56 out of 100 based on reviews from 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

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