Mask, The  DVD A-, A

New Line/1994/101/WS 1.85

     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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