tek's rating:

The Mask (PG-13)
Dark Horse; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Warner Bros.; Wikia; Wikipedia

This is based on a series of comic books that I've never read, but would probably like to. It came out in 1994, and I must have first seen it not too long after that, on VHS. (There was a bonus feature on the tape in which Jim Carrey was interviewed by Space Ghost, which was, I believe, my first time seeing Space Ghost, and also quite possibly the first time seeing any bonus features other than trailers on home video, which would pave the way for my understanding of what DVDs are supposed to be like. Ironically, when I finally got the movie on DVD in 2015, it had no bonus features at all.) The film is notable for being one of a crop of movies that made Jim Carrey a huge star. It was also the first film role for Cameron Diaz. And there were some other stars who were somewhat familiar to me, including Amy Yasbeck, Ben Stein, Peter Riegert, and Richard Jeni. And it inspired a spin-off cartoon, also called The Mask.

So, Carrey plays Stanley Ipkiss, a "nice guys finish last" type who works at a bank, likes old cartoons, and has a smart dog named Milo. (Btw, this movie kind of re-popularized Tex Avery cartoons.) At the end of a particularly bad day, he finds a wooden mask, which apparently houses the spirit of Loki, the Norse god of mischief. Putting on the mask allows one to become a sort of surreal manifestation of their inner self, with pretty much unlimited super powers and invulnerability. Of course, Stanley's love of cartoons informs his own transformation into "The Mask." Meanwhile, there's a gangster named Dorian Tyrell who runs a nightclub called the Coco Bongo, who is planning to rob a bank and use the money to help him overthrow his boss, Niko. Dorian's girlfriend, Tina Carlyle (Diaz) meets Stanley while pretending to want to open an account at the bank, when really she's filming the place to help Dorian plan the heist. The Mask ends up robbing the bank before Dorian's gang can do so, and then he goes to Coco Bongo and dances with Tina. And um... there's a police detective named Kellaway (Riegert) who, along with his doofus partner Doyle, ends up investigating the Mask. There's also a reporter named Peggy Brandt (Yasbeck) who's investigating the Mask, in the hopes of advancing her career. And there's a guy named Charlie (Jeni), Stanley's best friend, who also works at the bank.

And I don't want to try to explain the plot any more than I have; there's just a ton of cartoonish, CGI wackiness. And some decent music, including a song by Royal Crown Revue. But the song I always found most memorable is the Mask's rendition of "Cuban Pete." Another thing I've always remembered fondly about the movie is a particular plot twist... which I don't want to spoil. (I am so aching to spoil it, though. Sigh.) Just... an expectation one might have based on every other movie ever, which is completely turned around in this movie. Anyway... I dunno what else to say. I'm not sure how well the movie holds up; I mean, I'm sure it's not as good as it seemed in the 90s, but it's still pretty good. Though I think most of my appreciation for it is limited to specific scenes, rather than the film as a whole. Still, I can't help but wonder what would happen if I put on the mask....

Followed by Son of the Mask


comic book movies