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New Line Home Cinema presents
Son of the Mask (2005)

"I'm a god. I can shape-shift. I can create stuff out of nothingness. I can alter the fabric of reality. So please quit being a knucklehead."
- Loki (Alan Cumming)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: May 16, 2005

Stars: Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming
Other Stars: Traylor Howard, Steven Wright, Kal Penn, Bob Hoskins
Director: Lawrence Guterman

MPAA Rating: PG for (action, crude and suggestive humor, language)
Run Time: 01h:34m:29s
Release Date: May 17, 2005
UPC: 794043810527
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D D-AA B+

DVD Review

The whole concept of a sequel to The Mask without Jim Carrey's participation was simply a train wreck waiting to happen. And happen it did, when in February of 2005, the film was unceremoniously dumped upon multiplexes everywhere, and only managed to take in around $17 million, a bona fide flop. Critics blasted the film as well, calling it a complete unimaginative mess, among other things.

Well, the critics were right on with this one. Son of the Mask is a huge misfire in every sense of the word. The acting—even from the usually reliable Alan Cumming—is juvenile, the script pointless, and the direction, for lack of a better phrase, is lacking any direction. Even the look of the film, a huge part of the original movie's success, doesn't work, instead reminding us of a Tex Avery cartoon gone all wrong.

Son of the Mask begins with the mysterious face gear finding its way to the apartment of Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy), who works for an animation studio. This down-on-his-luck artist can't seem to get anything in his life to go right, but after his dog Otis brings the mask to him, he decides to wear it to an office Halloween party. After that wild night of "mask-dom," Tim's wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), is pregnant and months later the couple have a son, Alvey.

It seems that since Tim was wearing the mask when Alvey was conceived, the child was born with some of its powers, essentially becoming a human cartoon. Meanwhile, Otis has been possessed by the mask, and these two living cartoons are soon going at it with each other, with poor Tim caught in the middle. To make matters even worse, Loki (Alan Cumming) is trying to track down the mask and will eliminate anyone, be they man, child or dog, to get it.

Not only are the human actors underachieving, but this is easily the worst use of computer animation to ever grace the silver screen. Alvey is the most unrealistic CGI creation ever (yes, even worse than Scooby-Doo in those recent movies), almost always very scary looking when that was definitely not the filmmaker's intention. Sure, it's nearly impossible to make a CGI baby look real, but the one here even makes the dancing baby from Ally McBeal look good.

Additionally, absolutely none of the jokes are even remotely funny, and are most often groan-inducing. The often funny Jamie Kennedy (Scream) is woefully underutilized. He has shown in the past that he can tackle multiple, nearly animated characters at a time, but his screen time in "mask mode" is very limited. I actually felt sad for Alan Cumming (Eyes Wide Shut), who has nothing to do but strut around in his lavish costume and act as evil as he possibly can, which frankly isn't very evil at all.

There sure wasn't much of a turnaround between Son of the Mask's theatrical run and this DVD release. So what we have a mere three months after its box-office flop is a Platinum Series DVD that is very impressive, and is much better than this project deserved. Unfortunately, this might mean that more film fans will be subjected to a film that is already sitting high upon my list of the worst films of 2005.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is exactly what one would expect from a film only three months removed from theaters, and then some. Just about every color you have ever seen is splashed on the screen at some point in the film and, fortunately, these colors are rendered flawlessly. Even though the CGI is incredibly bad, the detail of the images, animated or not, is exquisite. There isn't a single bit of dirt or grain to be found either, completing a nearly-perfect transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio options are Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes, with both being quite serviceable, but the 5.1 mix being outstanding. The surrounds are always at work, busting out some truly powerful sounds, with the help of some awesome bass presence. Directional effects are very nice as well, and crisp, clear dialogue is a constant.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hot Wheels AcceleRacers: Ignition, Racing Stripes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, What's New Scooby-Doo? Volume 5
19 Deleted Scenes
3 Documentaries
Storyboard
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Jamie Kennedy, director Larry Guterman, writer Lance Khazei
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There's a great collection of extras that are much more entertaining than the film itself, beginning with an audio commentary track. Jamie Kennedy, director Larry Guterman, and writer Lance Khazei are on this track, which starts off serious, as Guterman and Khazei discuss the ins-and-outs of Son of the Mask. Anytime Kennedy chimes in, though, his wacky antics cause the other participants to lose their focus, which both spices up and grinds to a halt, the proceedings.

A slew of DVD-ROM only items are also available, including a few coloring pages, a game, and some neat desktop alarm clocks.

Next, are 19 Deleted Scenes, with optional audio commentary by Guterman. Many of these are extended versions of scenes in the finished film, but there are a few neat sequences that were left out of the film entirely.

There are three documentaries here as well, beginning with the 16-minute Paw Prints and Baby Steps: On the Set of Son of the Mask. This focuses on the trials and tribulations involved in working with kids and dogs in movies, from choosing the right "actors" to dealing with them as the cameras are rolling.

Creating Son of the Mask: Digital Diapers and Dog Bytes runs for 15 minutes, and is all about the CGI work on the film. There some early animation footage, which is much more interesting than what we see in the film.

The last piece is Chow Bella: Hollywood's Pampered Pooches. This is also 15 minutes long, and discusses how dog owners in Hollywood treat their animals like children, in regards to the clothes they dress them in and how they are treated.

There are some trailers for other New Line Home Video releases as well as the one for Son of the Mask, and three art galleries and a pair of storyboard sequences round out this nice group of supplemental material.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Sure, Son of the Mask is a truly awful film, but you've got to hand it to New Line Home Video, who can seemingly make any film appear better than it really is thanks to their consistently solid DVD releases. Still, no one can blame anyone who just takes a quick look and listen to the impressive audio and video and just jumps straight to the nice extras collection.

 


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