This is my second case study. I thought my first, ‘Insidious’ did ok, but this time around I have chosen to do something a bit more on the ‘lighter’ side. Starring Jim Carrey, and made in 1994, ‘The Mask’ is one of my favourite 90s movies, and it happened to be only the second Jim Carrey movie I had seen after Ace Ventura: Pet Detective which was also made in the same year.
Picture: The Mask.
‘The Mask’ hold a special moment for me in my movie fan history because years ago, after I had decided I was a full blown movie fan ( I was about twelve or thirteen) I managed to somehow convince my mum into joining a ‘movie club’ which was first advertised in the TV guide we always used to get every week, and when you joined this club you could order videos (not DVDs!!) at a discounted price provided you bought I think it was about six a year, but for the first order you could have four movies completely free. It was awesome! ‘The Mask’ was one of the videos I chose, along with Casper, Batman Forever and Star Trek: Generations. When I think about that time now I realise that I got them so cheap because videos were already being phased out ready to be replaced by DVDs. But you know what, nothing would be able to take away the excitement and joy I used to feel when that new video was delivered through my door!!! I used to get so ecstatic!!!
So with that bit of history out of the way with…..
‘The Mask’ was a huge surprise for me. Admittedly when I chose it from this movie club I hadn’t actually seen it. I did that a lot when I was younger, buy movies before watching them. I chose it because of how freakish looking Jim Carrey’s character looked on the front cover. I thought he looked quite cool.
Picture: Cameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle.
So we have this character, sweet, gullible Stanley Ipkiss, and his little dog Milo. He works in a bank and he is a ‘nobody’. But then he is introduced to the gorgeous Tina Carlyle, played by Cameron Diaz, who wants to open a bank account, and he falls in love with her. It is actually very sweet. But….after Stanley is chucked out of the nightclub where Tina works he fears Tina will never look at him twice. Because he is ‘a nobody’.
But then Ipkiss finds The Mask floating in a river. Strangely, he doesn’t even put The Mask on straight away. The defining moment comes when he watches a TV show where this professor type guy goes on, talking about how ‘everyone wears a mask’ which I think is a message in itself because to a certain degree, at times we can all do that in (I quote) “…a way of adopting a more socially appropriate image of ourselves”. So for a movie that is quite funny, and wacky I would say, the movie still carries a very serious message.
Picture: Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) with the ‘Mask’.
Jim Carrey really shows how great an actor he is when he transforms into The Mask. He goes from sweet, sensitive Stanley, who feels like the only one who truly loves him is his dog Milo, into the confident, crazy, lovestruck ‘Mask’ in the blink of an eye. He literally looked as though he had just jumped out of a comic book. My first favourite scene is where he stands in the mirror for the first time and says ” It’s party time. P A R T why, because I gotta” proved how a good comedy actor could turn into a great comedy actor, because it was like he was a completely different person, although I could still tell it was Jim Carrey even though he looked really weird with all that make up. Everything he did from then on was so cartoon like, from the alarm clock, the eye popping, the wolf whistling, the dancing, the facial expressions. They were all done brilliantly. There were even bits of the movie that reminded me fondly of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ as well. The laughs and screams The Mask made, the cartoon-like adventures he had like making a cartoon Tommy gun out of balloons and scaring the bad guys away, and peeling his flat self off the ground after falling from a great height, the way he danced as he listened to jazz music. I really loved all that in the movie. It made it fun.
Picture: Eye-popping Mask.
As the story goes, upon discovering he can actually do anything once he is The Mask, Stanley goes and robs the bank where he works. Unfortunately it happens to be the same bank criminal mastermind Dorian, wanted to rob too, but The Mask gets there before his men can. Despite the cops sniffing around him and trying to keep the money hidden them and the evil Dorian, The Mask still decides to turn up at Dorian’s club, in an embarrassingly big car, for some evening entertainment. Thus follows my next favourite scene of the movie, when The Mask dances with Tina and has a great time much to Dorian’s disgust. That was just such a fun scene. The music was great, it had lots of energy and it always gets me jigging along with it too, every time. I love it. Unfortunately it is short-lived because Dorian’s henchmen recognize The Mask from the bank robbery and the party is swiftly over. Luckily the cops crash the party but after finding a piece of Stanley’s tie, cops Kellaway and Doyle start to suspect Stanley has something to do with the robbery too and go and question him. Of course Stanley has the several hundred thousand bills stashed in his kitchen cupboard he is desperately trying to keep hidden from the police when they come round for a chat. That was really funny.
Picture: Dorian as the evil Mask.
So The Mask has now gained an enemy in Dorian, because not only did he just steal all his money, but he also got one of his friends killed in the process. Now with snooping news reporter Peggy Brandt, played by Amy Yasbeck also suspecting Ipkiss is the Mask, Ipkiss does his best to elude the Dorian, Peggy and the police, but fails dismally because the cops catch up with him, which leads on to the funniest dance scene I have ever seen in a movie ever, the ‘Rumba Beat’ dance scene. That scene was classic Jim Carrey at his best. I mean he was dressed like a Mexican and had maracas. It was amazing. All the cops were dancing, and poor Doyle, he wanted to dance too but Kellaway stopped him and said he would blow his brains out if he started dancing! That was a great scene.
Picture: Rumba Beat, Jim Carrey.
I felt so sorry for Stanley when he is betrayed by Peggy, because after she suspects Stanley is The Mask, Peggy goes and offers the information to Dorian for a pay out, and I thought that was so mean. So Dorian gets The Mask from Stanley and puts it on himself and just basically becomes a bigger git than he was before. Peter Greene who plays Dorian has this really great chiselled face already and they matched the make up perfectly to the contours of his face, and made it look bigger and more scary. I loved it.
I also loved the fact that out of all of the characters in the movie, the one who ends up breaking Stanley out of jail after he is arrested for being ‘The Mask’, is Milo the dog, so he can go and rescue Tina who is being hounded by Dorian’s henchmen. And then he has to save the day as Stanley Ipkiss because Dorian has planned to steal all the money from the charity ball that is supposed to be for sick kids!!! He can’t let that happen!!
I thought ‘The Mask’ was a great movie. I particularly loved to see exactly how diverse Jim Carrey, as an actor, could be. He was sensational in this. You could always tell ‘The Mask’ was Jim Carrey, but he made that character so real. True, it was a bit crazy at times but there were lots of funny moments, and I mean real laugh out loud moments. And then there were moments when Jim Carrey’s Stanley was wandering aimlessly like a lovesick puppy and he was a bit lost. When he found ‘The Mask’, Ipkiss thought he had found himself, but it turned out it was when he took the Mask off that Stanley discovered the real him, and that actually, he didn’t need the Mask at all. After all, it was Stanley who got the girl in the end.
Thanks for reading.