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The Mask

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Mask

Starring: Jim Carrey, Peter Riegert
Director: Chuck Russell
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: July 1994
Genres: Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni, Cameron Diaz, Orestes Matacena, Timothy Bagley, Nancy Fish, Ben Stein

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Dragan Antulov review follows movie review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
3.  David Wilcock read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

Comic book industry has suffered a sharp commercial decline in the last decade. One of the reasons for that can be found in the rapid development of computer graphic technologies that brought whole new dimension to interactive video games and Hollywood films. Two-dimensional paper world of comic books simply can't compete with them and the adolescents, who used to keep the industry alive, are turning away towards alternative forms of entertainment in which their favourite characters, even the most outrageous ones, look more alive and more attractive. One of such examples is THE MASK, movie adaptation of Dark Horse comic book, directed in 1994 by Charles Russell.

Protagonist of this film is Stanley Ipkiss (played by Jim Carrey), mild-mannered bank clerk who is not particularly happy with many aspects of his life, especially those related to opposite sex. One day a beautiful night club singer Tina Carlyle (played by Cameron Diaz) comes to his bank and Stanley hopelessly falls in love with. But the visit to the night club ends with Stanley being bounced and spending the rest of night walking by the sea. There he sees a strange ancient mask that features face of Loki, Norse god of mischief. When Stanley puts the mask on his face, he gets transformed into Mask - a new character with a green face, a person who does almost any thing Stanley would never do. While doing that he brings attention of both police led by Lt. Mitch Kellaway (played by Peter Riegert) and crime syndicate led by Dorian Tyrell (played by Peter Greene).

There are few comic actors like Jim Carrey whose comedic talent is such that he can carry movies that would otherwise be unwatchable. THE MASK is one of those rare instances where Jim Carrey's overwhelming talent actually had to compete with something else. The outrageous and cartoonish character of Mask was simply impossible to put on the screen without massive display of latest CGI technologies. In the end the special effects became the most important element of the film and everything else - plot, characters, settings etc. - was just an excuse for their display. Unfortunately, those scenes tend to be too short and between them viewers have to deal with the weak script by Mike Werb and anachronistic characters and situation that might look like they were time-warped from 1940s. Although Carrey really tried his best (and usually succeeds) in bringing life to the comic book characters, his efforts weren't enough to rescue this film from sinking into oblivion. Those who remember THE MASK these days usually don't think of Carrey or ground-breaking CGI effects; the main reason why this film gets mentioned is Cameron Diaz in her first major movie appearance, in which she displays somewhat rounder shape than we are accustomed to see from Hollywood actresses. In the end, those viewers who aren't big fans of Carrey, Diaz or comic books probably won't miss much if they don't watch this film.

Copyright 2001 Dragan Antulov

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