Mask, The DVD A-, A
The Mask represents an extraordinary
value on DVD, presented with a couple deleted scenes and a very fine and enthusiastic audio
commentary track by director Chuck Russell. There is a certain awkwardness in accessing the
commentary version since you have to go to the menu sub-system to get there and at first blush, it
doesn’t seem possible to simply turn the commentary on and off without moving through the menu
system and losing you place in commentary version. Could be my clumsy fingers have not found the
right combination of buttons to seamlessly move through the DVD format.
The Mask may be the ultimate Jim Carrey vehicle since it gives
Carrey the chance to translate his extraordinary physical comic skills into cartoon enhanced
realizations. You could almost believe that Carrey is capable of contorting himself into these
special effect visions.
The special effects are fantastic, beautifully blended into the
film. The contrast between Carrey as the mild-mannered Stanley Ipkiss and the newly
molded explosion of mad malignant energy as The Mask makes each Carrey incarnation the more
enjoyable. Carrey in the mask is delightfully inspired by the cartoons of Chuck Jones. The sense of
anarchy that is invested in the character provides a wild pleasure all its own. Though the story is
really subservient to the characterizations and special effects, director Chuck Russell maintains a
linear energy to the film. It could easily have run amok, but Russell exhibits a strong
director’s command. Coupled with some delightful musical numbers, again providing a splendid
showcase for the Carrey physicality, The Mask is a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
Carrey is simply terrific, charming and malevolent. Cameron Diaz provides more than enough
fresh sex appeal as the object of Carrey’s desire, singer Tina Carlyle.
The Mask offers many scenes that could tax the limitations of
DVD’s MPEG-2 compression scheme, especially the whirlwind movements of Carrey as The Mask.
Still, I did not detect any artifacts generic to the system. Motion never broke up into
pixilization or left a semi-compressed trail. The colors on The Mask are brilliant. They pop
off the screen with comic book vitality perfectly matching Carrey’s characterization. The
laserdisc was of reference quality and the DVD is a match for all that vitality. The
images are extremely sharp. A slight disappointment is that the DVD has not been transferred
Anamorphic, thereby bypassing the potential for an even better picture realization.
Along with the Russell audio commentary, The Mask presents two
scenes deleted from the final cut. Given that the pacing of the movie is close to perfection,
it’s best that we are treated to these scenes as “deleted” additions in this special edition
DVD. The theatrical trailer completes the presentation.
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