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The Mask: New Line Platinum Series

review by Eric Dahl

 

Rated PG-13

Studio: New Line

Running Time: 97 Minutes

Starring: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck

Written by Mike Werb, Michael Fallon, and Mark Verheiden

Directed by Charles (Chuck) Russell

Features: Commentary with Director Charles Russell, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, Cast & Crew Biographies.

Disc Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Pan-and-Scan, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 French

Once upon a time, there was an unknown actress who had all the talent in the world and an unbelievably beautiful complexion to go with it. The only, and most important, thing she didn't have was a debut film to thrust her into the limelight. In Hollywood terms, this, of course, means mucho-$$$ potential, so the execs at New Line Pictures decided to pair her up with up-and-coming actor Jim Carrey, who had struck box office gold twice earlier that same year in the comedic hits "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "Dumb and Dumber". The film went on to become a big hit (Grossing $320.9 million worldwide with an $18 million budget) and thrust star Jim Carrey even further into Hollywood fame. What about the girl? Well, I guess you could say that Carrey's co-star Cameron Diaz has met with modest success so far in her career. (*wink, wink*) Aww, who are we kidding here? After "The Mask", Cameron Diaz became one of the most famous (and bankable) stars in Hollywood history, but even with her newfound superstardom, she still remembers her humble past, acting in "The Mask", when interviewed.

"The Mask" tells the story of self-proclaimed hopeless romantic Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), a simple banker who's hardly a hit with the ladies. Enter blonde bombshell, and singer at the new Coco Bongo nightclub, Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz), who turns Stanley's world upside down. Stanley falls head-over-heels in love with Tina, but knows that it won't lead anywhere because of her high profile and his geek demeanor. Then Stanley found The Mask. The Mask was a green objectification of the Greek god of michief, Loki, placed in America by the Vikings after they apparently had some trouble with it. [Writer's Note: The beforementioned scene was cut, and can be found in the deleted scenes section of the DVD.] Stanley puts the mask on, and BOOM, he's the complete opposite of what he used to be.

I'm not going to give away any of the plot after this, but what ensues are some of the funniest scenes I've ever seen Jim Carrey do (IMHO, his absolute best was the brilliant "The pen is blue" scene from 1997's "Liar, Liar"). This is a hilarious film and must be seen if you're a Jim Carrey fan. Even if you're just in the mood for a good comedy, "The Mask" is always good for a rent.

 

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and Pan-and-Scan are on opposite sides of the disc. I didn't review the Pan-and-Scan side (Who would watch it, anyway, when you have the Widescreen available to you?), but the widescreen side was in a word, beautiful. The blacks were solid in the nighttime scenes, and the color was well defined and never oversaturated. The production designers on this film must be applauded, because this has got to be, apart from the nighttime scenes, one of the most colorful movies I've ever seen. From The Mask's yellow zoot suit, to the interior of the Coco Bongo nightclub, this is one colorful transfer, just short of reference quality.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track is well done. The LFE channel is used mostly in thunderstorms and the like, but is adequate for the material presented. The surrounds are also pretty inactive, except for the score, until the Coco Bongo jitterbug scene between Carrey and Cameron Diaz and the "Cuban Pete" music number, when the whole 5.1 spectrum is used extremely well and shines.

The features are very good, given that the disc is a New Line Platinum Series disc. The included extras are a Commentary with Director Chuck Russell, Two Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, and Cast and Crew Biographies.

The Commentary with Director Chuck Russell is funny, entertaining, and insightful. It's probably one of the best commentaries I've ever heard, (the best being "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"'s which seems infinitely replayable to me,) and director Russell seems to be having fun remembering shooting the movie. In my favorite moment, explains how Jim Carrey improvised one of the funniest little bits in the whole movie.

The Two Deleted Scenes are mixed in my mind. The first deleted scene, showing how the mask got to America through the Vikings, is one of the scenes that absolutely should have kept in the movie. It's funny, and adds development to how exactly the mysterious mask of Loki got to Edge City. The second, however, which shows the death of reporter Peggy Brandt, (don't worry, she survives in the Theatrical Cut, so it's not like I'm giving plot points away,) which has got to be the most absurd, albeit comic book-ish, scenes that could have been, and is a worthy deletion.

The Theatrical Trailer is pretty standard, as are the Cast and Crew Biographies.

All in all, "The Mask: Platinum Collection" is a tight little package. The movie, while not a masterpiece in any way, shape, or form, is a fun watch whether you're eight or eighty. This DVD is definitely worth picking up, either for good if you're a genre fan, or for a Saturday night rent if you just want something funny to watch.

(3/5, NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(3/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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