The Mask (film)

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This article is about the 1994 film. For the 1961 horror film, see The Mask (1961 film). For the 1985 film, see Mask (film).
The Mask
The Mask (film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Russell
Produced by Bob Engelman
Screenplay by Mike Werb
Story by
Starring
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography John R. Leonetti
Edited by Arthur Coburn
Production
company
Distributed by New Line Productions
Release dates
  • July 29, 1994 (1994-07-29)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23 million[2]
Box office $351.6 million[2]

The Mask is a 1994 American fantasy superhero slapstick action comedy film loosely based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. This film was directed by Chuck Russell, and produced by Dark Horse Entertainment and New Line Cinema, and originally released to movie theatres on July 29, 1994. The film stars Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss, a man who finds the Mask of Loki, which turns him into The Mask, a grinning, magically-powered trickster uninhibited by anything, including physical reality. The film's supporting cast includes Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Peter Riegert, Richard Jeni, Ben Stein, Joely Fisher, and Cameron Diaz in her feature film debut as Stanley's love interest Tina Carlyle.

The movie was among the top ten moneymakers of its year, cemented Carrey's reputation as one of the dominant comedic actors of the time, and immediately established Diaz as a major star who would go on to have a long career as a leading lady. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, and the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (Tom Bertino, Jon Farhat, Scott Squires and Steve 'Spaz' Williams), but lost to Forrest Gump.

Plot[edit]

Stanley Ipkiss is a shy and unlucky bank clerk working at the local Edge City bank. He is frequently ridiculed by everyone around him, except for his Jack Russell Terrier Milo, and his co-worker and best friend Charlie Schumaker. Meanwhile, gangster Dorian Tyrell, owner of the Coco Bongo nightclub, plots to overthrow his boss Niko. One day, Tyrell sends his singer girlfriend Tina Carlyle into Stanley's bank to record its layout, in preparation to rob the bank.

Stanley is attracted to Tina, and she seems to reciprocate. After being denied entrance to the Coco Bongo, he finds a wooden mask near the city's harbor. Placing it on his face transforms him into a zoot-suited, green-faced, bizarre trickster known as the Mask, who is able to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will. The Mask scares off a street gang (waiting on the streets) that attempts to rob him by turning a balloon into a Tommy gun; he scares his grouchy landlady, and injures the con-artist repairmen who did unnecessary work on his car and charged him for it.

The next morning, Stanley encounters detective Lieutenant Kellaway and newspaper reporter Peggy Brandt investigating the Mask's activity of the previous night. To attend Tina's performance, he again becomes the Mask to raid the bank, inadvertently foiling Tyrell's plan in the process. The cops rock up and shoot Tyrell's men. At the Coco Bongo, Stanley dances exuberantly with Tina, whom he ends up kissing. Following a confrontation with Tyrell for disrupting the bank robbery, Stanley flees leaving behind a scrap of cloth from his suit that transforms back into his pajamas, while the cops arrest Tyrell as a suspect for the bank robbery.

Based on the shred of cloth, Kellaway suspects Stanley to be the bank robber; he believes that "there can't be two idiots with those kind of pajamas." Stanley later consults a psychiatrist ( Ben Stein ) who has recently published a book on masks, and is told that the object may be a depiction of Loki, the Norse god of darkness and mischief. The same night, Stanley transforms into the Mask and meets Tina at a local park, but the meeting is interrupted by Kellaway, and Doyle who attempts to arrest him. Stanley escapes and exits the park, only to find a large group of police officers; he tricks them into joining him in a mass-performance of the Desi Arnaz song "Cuban Pete", takes off the mask and flees with Peggy, but she betrays him to Tyrell for a $50,000 bounty. Tyrell tries on the mask and becomes a malevolent green-faced monster. Forced to reveal the location of the stolen money, Stanley is kept hostage in one of the mob's cars while Tyrell's henchmen search his apartment. With the money now in the hands of Tyrell's gang, Stanley is then delivered to Kellaway at the police headquarters (along with a rubber green mask) where he is arrested.

When Tina visits Stanley in his cell, he urges her to flee the city. Tina thanks Stanley for treating her "like a person, and not some kind of party favor" and tells him that she knew that he was the Mask all along. She attempts to leave the city, but is captured by Tyrell's men and forcibly taken to a charity ball at the Coco Bongo hosted by Niko and attended by the city's elite, including Mayor Tilton. Upon arrival, the masked Tyrell kills Niko and the guards and prepares to destroy both the club and Tina with dynamite. Milo helps Stanley escape from his cell, and Stanley bumps into Kellaway and then uses him as a cover and hostage in a desperate attempt to stop Tyrell.

After locking Kellaway in his car, Stanley enters the club and manages to enlist the help of Charlie, but is soon after spotted and captured. Tina tricks Tyrell into taking off the mask, which is recovered and donned by Milo, turning the dog into a cartoonish pitbull who wreaks havoc among Tyrell's men, while Stanley fights Tyrell himself. After recovering the mask, Stanley uses its abilities to save Tina by swallowing Tyrell's bomb and flushing Tyrell down the drain of the club's ornamental fountain. The police arrive and arrest Tyrell's remaining henchmen, while Kellaway attempts to arrest Stanley once again. Mayor Tilton bumps into Kellaway and tells him to free Stanley because of Stanley's heroism and that Tyrell was the Mask the whole time. Tilton sets up a meeting with Kellaway in his office in the morning and all charges against Stanley are dropped. As the sun rises the following day, Stanley, Tina and Charlie take the mask back down to the harbor. Tina throws the mask into the water, and she and Stanley kiss. Charlie then jumps in the water to retrieve the mask for himself, only to have it taken by Milo first. The film ends with Stanley kissing Tina, quoting the Mask's catchphrase: "SssssMOKIN'!!!"

Cast[edit]

  • Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss / The Mask. Carrey commented that he characterized Stanley after his own father: "a nice guy, just trying to get by". Carrey was paid $450,000 for starring in the film, which was a huge bargain for New Line Cinema at the time.
  • Cameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle, Dorian Tyrell's girlfriend and lounge singer at the Coco Bongo who later becomes Stanley's love interest. This role marked the feature film debut for Cameron Diaz. Before Diaz was cast, the studio considered casting Anna Nicole Smith, Vanessa L. Williams and Kristy Swanson. After Diaz auditioned twelve times for the role, she was finally cast only a week before filming began.[citation needed]
  • Peter Greene as Dorian Tyrell, a mobster who wants to take over the city's underworld. Greene was cast after the studio's top choice, Gary Kemp, turned it down.
  • Richard Jeni as Charlie Schumaker, Stanley's best friend and colleague.
  • Peter Riegert as Lt. Mitch Kellaway, a cynical police detective who hunts the Mask, as well as Tyrell and Niko. Before Riegert was cast, the studio considered Richard Gere for the role.
  • Jim Doughan as Det. Doyle, Lt. Kellaway's dim-witted partner.
  • Amy Yasbeck as Peggy Brandt, a reporter with a crush on Stanley. In a deleted scene, Peggy is killed by Tyrell shortly after he first puts the mask on.
  • Orestes Matacena as Niko, a Greek mafia boss and Tyrell's nemesis.
  • Eamonn Roche as Mr. Dickey, the son of the Bank President who is Stanley and Charlie's superior.
  • Nancy Fish as Mrs. Peenman, Stanley's grumpy land-lady.
  • Tim Bagley as Irv Ripley, a mechanic who rips off Stanley.
  • Johnny Williams as Burt Ripley, a mechanic and Irv's brother.
  • Reginald E. Cathey as Freeze (called The Doctor in the film), Dorian Tyrell's trusted lieutenant and friend whose death, inadvertently caused by The Mask, drives Tyrell into a personal vendetta against Ipkiss.
  • Denis Forest as Sweet Eddy, one of Tyrell's henchmen. Before Forest was cast, the studio considered Chris Elliott for the role.
  • Ivory Ocean as Mayor Mitchell Tilton, the mayor of Edge City.
  • Joely Fisher as Maggie, another one of Stanley's colleagues.
  • Ben Stein as Dr. Arthur Neuman, Stanley's psychologist. He is the only character to appear in both The Mask and its sequel Son of the Mask.
  • Royal Crown Revue as themselves / The Coco Bongo Band

Visual effects[edit]

The Mask's visual effects were handled by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Digital Domain. The sequences in the film which involved computer animation were supervised by ILM animation director Wes Takahashi.[3]

Reception[edit]

The film was a box-office success, grossing $119 million domestically and over $350 million worldwide,[2] becoming the second-highest grossing superhero movie at that time, behind Batman. The film also received positive reviews from critics, including Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, noting Jim Carrey for his "joyful performance."[4] The Mask is one of three films featuring Carrey (the others being Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber) released in 1994 that helped launch the actor to superstardom, though The Mask was the most successful of these three films both critically and commercially. The film is also notable for immediately establishing Diaz – previously a complete unknown – as a major star in Hollywood as well. The film is also considered a cult classic.[citation needed]

It currently holds a 77% "Certified Fresh" rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus stating "It misses perhaps as often as it hits, but Carrey's manic bombast, Diaz's blowsy appeal, and the film's overall cartoony bombast keep The Mask afloat."[5] On the television program Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, the critics gave the film "two thumbs up". Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, gave The Mask a rating score of 56, indicating "mixed or average reviews" based on 12 reviews.

The film was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 67th Academy Awards, but lost to Forrest Gump. In addition, Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe. Conversely, he was also nominated for a Razzie Award for "Worst New Star". The Mask was also nominated for the American Film Institute's 10 Top 10 list as a fantasy film,[6] and the Mask's quote "Somebody stop me!" was nominated for 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes, but neither of them made the list.[7]

Soundtracks[edit]

Original soundtrack[edit]

The Mask: Music From the Motion Picture was released on July 26, 1994 on Chaos Records, which is associated with Sony Music Entertainment. It features music from Xscape, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Vanessa Williams, Harry Connick, Jr., Jim Carrey himself and more.

The Mask:
Music from the Motion Picture
TheMasksoundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released July 26, 1994 (1994-07-26)
Genre Swing, retro swing, pop rock, R&B, new jack swing
Label Chaos/Columbia

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Cuban Pete" (C & C Pop Radio Edit) - Jim Carrey
  2. "Who's That Man?" - Xscape
  3. "This Business of Love" - Domino
  4. "Bounce Around" - Tony! Toni! Toné!
  5. "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" - Harry Connick, Jr.
  6. "You Would Be My Baby" - Vanessa Williams
  7. "Hi De Ho" - K7
  8. "Let the Good Times Roll" - Fishbone
  9. "Straight Up" - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  10. "Hey! Pachuco!" - Royal Crown Revue
  11. "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You" - Susan Boyd
  12. "Cuban Pete" (Arkin Movie Mix) - Jim Carrey

The record label Epic Soundtrax released an orchestral score soundtrack to The Mask shortly after the original soundtrack's release. The score was composed and conducted by Randy Edelman and performed by the Irish Film Orchestra.

Orchestral score track listing[edit]

  1. Opening - The Origin of the Mask
  2. Tina
  3. Carnival
  4. Transformation
  5. Tango In The Park
  6. Lovebirds
  7. Out of the Line of Fire
  8. A Dark Night
  9. The Man Behind the Mask
  10. Dorian Gets a New Face
  11. Looking for a Way Out
  12. The Search
  13. Forked Tongue
  14. Milo to the Rescue
  15. The Mask Is Back
  16. Finale

Charts[edit]

Chart (1994) Position
U.S. Billboard 200 80

Home video[edit]

The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc on January 18th 1995 (and later on DVD) by New Line Home Video. The VHS version included an interview between Jim Carrey and Space Ghost, as a promotion for their corporate sibling Cartoon Network's Space Ghost Coast to Coast after the film. It also had a trailer for Jim Carrey's then-upcoming film, Dumb and Dumber, and ads for the soundtrack to the film, and for what was then branded as Betty Crocker Pop Secret. It was later released on Blu-ray Disc on December 9, 2008.[8] It has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is encoded in 1080p/VC-1. Its audio is a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD encoded at a 16 bit / 48 kHz sample rate. Special features include additional scenes, production details and two commentary tracks, one by director Chuck Russell and the other by the rest of the production crew.

Adaptations[edit]

A animated television series was made, The Mask: Animated Series, and a video game, The Mask (video game), both based on the film.

Sequel[edit]

  • Son of the Mask, a theatrical follow-up to The Mask, and a critical and financial failure.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Mask". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Mask (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Subject: Wes Ford Takahashi". Animators' Hall of Fame. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 29, 1994). "The Mask". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  5. ^ "The Mask (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
  7. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees
  8. ^ Dreuth, Josh (2008-12-09). "Today on Blu-ray - December 9". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 

External links[edit]