The Mask is a 1994 American live-action/animated superhero fantasy comedy film directed by Charles Russell, produced by Bob Engelman, and written by Mike Werb, loosely based on the comic series of the same name distributed by Dark Horse Comics. The film stars Jim Carrey, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Peter Riegert, Richard Jeni, Ben Stein, Joely Fisher, and Cameron Diaz in her film debut. It revolves around an unlucky bank clerk finding the Mask of Loki that grants him extraordinary cartoon-like superpowers, and causing havoc around an industrial city.
The film was released on July 29, 1994 by New Line Cinema, becoming a critical and commercial blockbuster, grossing over $351.6 million over a $23 million budget and receiving positive reviews. It cemented Carrey's reputation as a dominant actor of the '90s, and established Diaz long-term 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 but lost to Forrest Gump.
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, wise-cracking trickster known as the Mask, who is able to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will. Stanley scares off a street gang that attempts to rob him by turning a balloon into a Tommy gun, and then he exacts revenge on his tormentors; 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. 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 Tyrell is arrested by the police 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 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, who attempts to arrest him. Stanley tricks a large group of police officers 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, 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 prepares to destroy both the club and Tina with dynamite. Milo helps Stanley escape from his cell, and Stanley brings Kellaway 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 special powers 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 comes over and tells Kellaway, Doyle and the police to free Stanley, concluding after witnessing Stanley's heroism that Tyrell was the original Mask. 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, Milo 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 find Milo swimming away with it. The film ends with Stanley kissing Tina, quoting the Mask's catchphrase: "SssssMOKIN'!!!"
- 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.Template:Fix
- 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
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.
The film was a box-office success, grossing $119 million domestically and over $350 million worldwide, 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." 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.Template:Fix
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." 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 film is also recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2005: AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- Stanley Ipkiss: "Somebody stop me!" – Nominated
- 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10:
- Nominated Fantasy Film
The Mask: Music From the Motion Picture was released on July 26, 1994 on Chaos Records through Sony Music Entertainment. It features music from Xscape, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Vanessa Williams, Harry Connick Jr., Carrey himself and more.
- "Cuban Pete" (C & C Pop Radio Edit) – Jim Carrey
- "Who's That Man?" – Xscape
- "This Business of Love" – Domino
- "Bounce Around" – Tony! Toni! Toné!
- "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" – Harry Connick Jr.
- "You Would Be My Baby" – Vanessa Williams
- "Hi De Ho" – K7
- "Let the Good Times Roll" – Fishbone
- "Straight Up" – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
- "Hey! Pachuco!" – Royal Crown Revue
- "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You" – Susan Boyd
- "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
- Opening – The Origin of the Mask
- Tango In The Park
- Out of the Line of Fire
- A Dark Night
- The Man Behind the Mask
- Dorian Gets a New Face
- Looking for a Way Out
- The Search
- Forked Tongue
- Milo to the Rescue
- The Mask Is Back
The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc on January 18, 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. 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.
An animated television series was made, The Mask: Animated Series, and a video game, The Mask, both based on the film.
After the success of the original, a sequel was planned, with magazine Nintendo Power offering readers a chance, via sweepstakes, to win a cameo role in the film. However Jim Carrey eventually bailed on the project forcing, amongst other things, for Nintendo Power to give the winner of the contest the equivalent cash value instead. A critically panned sequel, Son of the Mask, not featuring Carrey, was eventually released in 2005.
- "The Mask". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
- "The Mask (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- "Subject: Wes Ford Takahashi". Animators' Hall of Fame. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
- Ebert, Roger (July 29, 1994). "The Mask". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2006-08-01. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- "The Mask (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
- "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
- Dreuth, Josh (2008-12-09). "Today on Blu-ray - December 9". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Ponce, Tony. "Meet the winner of Nintendo Power's The Mask II contest". Destructoid. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
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