Film Review: The Mask

Updated on February 19, 2018
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1994, Charles Russell released The Mask, based on the comic book series of the same name by John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke. Starring Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Greene, Richard Jeni, Peter Riegert, Jim Doughan, Amy Yasbeck, Orestes Matacena, Eamonn Roche, Nancy Fish, and Ben Stein, the film grossed $351.6 million at the box office.

Synopsis

Banker Stanley Ipkiss finds a magical mask endowed with the powers of Loki, making the wearer immune to everything and capable of anything. He uses it to get back at bullies and woo a nightclub singer, but there are others who seek its powers.

Review

The Mask a good and enjoyable film from start to finish, presenting audiences with Ipkiss, a banker who has no spine and no life other than going home to his dog and watching classic Tex Avery cartoons. He eventually finds a mask floating around a bridge and embarks on a wild ride as The Mask, a cartoonish being able to bend reality to his will. The stunts he pulls while fighting warring factions of the city’s mafia along with the police are humorous and fun to watch with audiences guessing just what The Mask is going to do next. At the same time, the ensuing romance between Ipkiss and Tina Carlyle, initiated by The Mask, is interesting considering she’s the main squeeze of the film’s antagonist, Dorian.

It is a fascinating aspect to the film in its treatment of Ipkiss and The Mask as two separate characters. He’s treated poorly by nearly every character other than his closest friends, yet goes through good character development as he takes cues from his alter ego, learning to stand up for himself as the film goes on. Ipkiss is even immediately characterized as a lonely heart looking for love in a big city, seen when newspaper reporter Peggy Brandt runs into him at his bank. His lack of courage is even shown early on when failing to stand up to his landlord, who decides to tell a dripping wet Ipkiss the money to restore her new carpet is coming out of his security deposit.

The Mask is essentially a foil for Ipkiss. Where the latter would be unable to make the first move in wooing a woman, The Mask will interrupt a singer’s set to change the musicians attire, have them start playing in a completely different style and engage in a tango with said singer. He won’t let anyone get the upper hand on him either, seen in his first few minutes. The Mask jumps out of a window and is confronted by a car. The driver lays on the horn, causing the titular character to produce a tiny horn with a sound able to blow the car’s windows out. Thugs attempting to jump him in the very next moment are also chased away thanks to his antics. Where Ipkiss is meek, would rather not stir up any trouble and is content with slinking away when confrontation happens, The Mask is bold, produces trouble and is at the center of any confrontation.

5 stars for The Mask

Awards/Recognitions

Bold indicates reception of award/recognition

Academy Awards

  • Best Effects, Visual Effects

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Make-Up

American Choreography Awards, USA

  • Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Make Up/Hair
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Special Effects

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award

Casting Society of America, USA – Artios Awards

  • Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Most Promising Actor (Jim Carrey)

Fantasporto Awards

  • International Fantasy Film Award – Best Film

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Jim Carrey)

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

Kids’ Choice Awards, USA

  • Favorite Animal Star (Max)
  • Favorite Movie Actor (Jim Carrey)

London Critics Circle Film Awards

  • Newcomer of the Year (Jim Carrey)

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Breakthrough Performance (Cameron Diaz)
  • Most Desirable Female (Cameron Diaz)
  • Best Comedic Performance (Jim Carrey)
  • Best Dance Sequence (Cameron Diaz & Jim Carrey)

MTV Video Music Awards

  • Best Video from a Film (Jim Carrey for Cuban Pete)

Razzie Awards

  • Worst New Star (Jim Carrey)

Sitges – Catalonian Interational Film Festival Awards

  • Best Special Effects
  • Best Film

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