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New Line Home Cinema presents
The Mask: Platinum Series (1994)

"Ooh, somebody stop me!"
- The Mask (Jim Carrey)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: May 16, 2005

Stars: Jim Carrey
Other Stars: Peter Riegert, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni, Cameron Diaz
Director: Charles Russell

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (some stylized violence)
Run Time: 01h:41m:04s
Release Date: May 17, 2005
UPC: 794043810824
Genre: action comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AAB+ A-

DVD Review

The Mask is one of the most important films in Jim Carrey's canon. Following the success of his breakout hit Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Carrey went the route of the big-budget action comedy. The significance of this is that the huge box office take for The Mask (just less than $120 domestically) opened the eyes of "Joe Moviegoer" and younger kids to Carrey's vast comedic talents. Sure, Ace Ventura was a surprise hit, but mostly among teenagers to young adults, whereas the wide demographic that paid money to see The Mask made Carrey the new face of comedy in all of the US.

At the time, the special effects work in The Mask was topnotch, and, in revisiting the film more than 10 years later, those same FX still stack up quite well with today's movies. Heavy use of CGI was still a rare thing in 1994, with this film serving as a mere taste of what was to come during that rest of that decade and into the new millennium. The key to this FX technology is to make things appear as realistic as possible, and nearly every effects-heavy shot in this film seems far more real than the pedestrian work in new projects like XXX. I never thought I'd be thinking of 1994 when pining for "the good old days" of CGI.

Despite the incredible special effects, The Mask is, hands-down Jim Carrey's film. Carrey spends much of the movie in heavy green facial makeup, but he is still able to utilize his amazing face-twisting capabilities to create this unforgettable character. As the non-mask-wearing Stanley Ipkiss, Carrey creates the perfect alter ego: a shy nebbish who can't gather the courage to mutter a single word to the incredibly gorgeous Cameron Diaz character, let alone ask her out on a date. When the titular face piece goes on, Carrey makes a completely believable transformation into the cocky, chauvinistic jerk of a character that the script calls for.

The Mask tells the story of Stanley Ipkiss, a nerdy bank teller who has no social life, let alone any prospects as far as female companionship goes. One day, the most gorgeous woman he's ever seen, Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz), comes strolling in, and the entire bank stops to stare. After Stanley fails in his feeble attempts to talk to Tina, he decides that he's had enough and heads to a bridge with his faithful canine companion, Milo, at his side, and contemplates ending it all. At this moment of crisis, Stanley notices a mysterious green mask floating in the water below. Little does he know that putting it on will change his life, and the lives of those around him (including Tina), forever.

While not among my list of Jim Carrey's best (that list has the criminally underrated The Cable Guy and Man on the Moon at the top), his work in The Mask was definitely career defining. It's not as laugh-out-loud funny as the Ace Ventura movies or Dumb and Dumber, but there's enough of Carrey's manic humor to keep his rabid fans happy. The story is solid enough to appeal to both adults and kids, but violent enough to keep "fanboys" satisfied as well. The Mask is a film that has stood the test of time so far, and it wouldn't be surprising to see a 25th anniversary DVD (or whatever the topnotch home video format is by then) to come our way in 2019.

New Line Home Video is re-releasing The Mask DVD, uncoincidentally, on the same day that Son of the Mask debuts on the format.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: This brand-new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer puts the old disc's video presentation to shame. The softness that was evident on the old disc is nonexistent here, replaced by incredibly sharp, detailed images. The wild, manic color scheme employed by the director looked great in theaters, but suffered a bit on the previous DVD. That is definitely not the case here, as each and every color in the palette jumps out to be noticed. Black levels are solid and fleshtones accurate, with no dirt or grain in this problem-free presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The new DTS track that's offered in this disc is a nice addition, but isn't much more impressive than the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that's been ported over from the previous DVD. The DTS does offer a bit more depth and subtlety when it comes to ambient sounds, but these mixes are virtually interchangeable, making ample use of the surrounds during the action-heavy sequences. The rest of the film's sound stays mostly up front, highlighted by crisp, concise dialogue that is never overcome by the music or sound effects. A Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is along for the ride as well, but sticking with the 5.1 or DTS mixes is the smartest move.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Elf, Raise Your Voice
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Director Charles Russell2. Director Charles Russell, New Line Cinema co-chairman Bob Shaye, writer Mike Werb, executive producer Mike Richardson, producer Bob Engelman, ILM VFX supervisor Scott Squires, animation supervisor Tom Bertino, and cine
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: This new version of The Mask: New Line Platinum Series offers a nice mix of new extras, as well as carryovers from the previous DVD. There are two audio commentaries, with the first, by director Charles Russell, being a carryover from the old disc. This track features an energetic Russell talking about early plans for the story, and working with the cast, among other anecdotes. The second commentary track was recorded recently, and is much more extensive, as it includes the separately recorded participation of Russell, New Line co-chairman Bob Shaye, writer Mike Werb, executive producer Mike Richardson, producer Bob Engelman, ILM VFX supervisor Scott Squires, animation supervisor Tom Bertino, and cinematographer John Leonetti. Each person discusses the film in relation to the part they played in making the film, but there are some very interesting, in-depth discussions involving the visual effects, changes to the story, and working with the dog who played Milo in the film. This is about as comprehensive a commentary track as you're ever going to find.

A collection of new Documentaries are up next, beginning with Return to Edge City, a nearly half-hour comprehensive look back at the making of The Mask. This piece features tons of interviews with the likes of director Russell, other crew members, and even Jim Carrey, with much of the discussion repeating the talk from the new audio commentary track.

Introducing Cameron Diaz is 13 minutes long, and features director Russell, casting associate Mark Paladini, and casting director Fern Champion telling the true rags-to-riches story of how Diaz landed this role of a lifetime.

Cartoon Logic runs for almost 14 minutes, and focuses on Tex Avery, and how much of The Mask was based on his classic cartoons. This in-depth discussion features many clips from Avery cartoons, as well as interviews with much of the film's crew, including, once again, Charles Russell.

What Makes Fido Run is a 10-minute piece on how animal trainers get their "actors" to perform in feature films.

There are also two Deleted Scenes that were on the old DVD, and a few trailers, including the original theatrical one for the feature.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Owners of the old DVD of The Mask can toss that puppy aside and run to the store to get this reissue. The excellent new video transfer is worth the price of the disk alone, and some nice new extras give you the perfect excuse to revisit this wonderful film. This is a rare case where a studio's "double-dipping" is a welcome thing.

 


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