It’s been a staggering 20 years since The Mask was first unveiled to the world and it’s been with us ever since. Coupled with Ace Ventura, it drove Jim Carrey’s career quite a bit towards stardom, as well as Cameron Diaz’s. The Mask is about a guy that finds a mask – thought to be instilled with the essence of Loki (I know, I know), the norse god of mischief (at least in this film) and sees Stanley Ipkiss on a mission to get the girl and save the city. All in a day’s work.
When did you first watch The Mask?
Emily: I first watched The Mask on TV or at a friend’s on VHS sometime around the age of 8 or 9. I don’t have any concrete memories of this first viewing only that over the rest of my childhood and adulthood that I would go on to rewatch it many, many times.
Paul: To be honest, I can’t really remember. I’ve watched it so many times, I don’t really recall the first time. I know it must have been fairly near the release of it, because I remember all the buzz around it (and the amount of times kids ran around saying “smoken!” and “P.A.R.T.Y., cos I gotta!”)
Emily: In the Copacabana and the Mask has sat down at his table and he sees Tina as she begins to perform. The whole Tex Avery wolf referencing as the Mask wolf whistles Tina and then has his heart beating away from his chest.
Paul: I think my favourite bit was when The Mask encounters the gang in the alleyway and does that miniature magic show. I think it’s just comical the way the gang gets so engrossed in what he’s doing.
Jim Carrey was perfect for the role. But if (and lets hope not) they were to do a remake, who would you cast?
Emily: It still needs to be someone youngish, who can play a character that hasn’t made their mark in the world yet, but still be convincing that they have a pretty big alter ego hiding inside, understand comedy… Maybe Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother.
Paul: Definitely someone flamboyant. I don’t think there’s anyone quite like Jim Carrey in Hollywood at the moment, so it’d be difficult to say. Maybe Brendan Fraser (although he’s probably older than Jim Carrey was when doing this film). Possibly Neil Patrick Harris. As for some of the other roles, I think Isla Fisher could pull off Tina, although she’d also be good for Peggy as well.
What would you do if you had the mask?
Paul: I think I’d want to liven stuff up somehow. So the comedic aspects would be there, although I don’t still watch many cartoons (though I would if they were on), so I’d probably be doing geek references all the time.
There’s quite a bit of adult humour in the film. How well do you think they did this without increasing its certificate?
Emily: I think they did pretty well. It’s amazing how many things I didn’t notice or get in the film as a kid. But also a lot of the humour carried on from old the old Tex Avery toons and those were still being repeated on mainstream TV when I was a kid so a lot of the humour was already normalised to me. I don’t think you could get away with it today though, because it’s so far removed from its original context.
Paul: The reason they managed to get away with it, is because it was buried under his antics. At no point were kids allowed to really think about what the mask was really saying, coupled with the subtlety of his jokes. Watching it now, having lost my innocence (*ahem*), you just realise how daring it was.
Emily: Sing-a-long and dance-a-long fun. They felt so more sincere to me as a kid in comparison to most Disney numbers and still do today to me as an adult.
Paul: There’s very few musical numbers that I’ll join in with. However, I would watch the ones in The Mask. They are generally silly and over the top.
You run into Jim Carrey’s Mask on the street. What do you do?
Emily: I’d try not to get too caught up in an inevitable dance number though I would certainly move with the moment.
Paul: As a fantastic source of inspiration, I would probably follow him for as long as I could. The one thing about his mask is that hijinks go on. Who would miss that?
How well do you identify with Stanley Ipkiss?
Paul: I identify with him to an extent – because of my own job. I think he generally has worse luck than me though. Not sure about the complaining about the “nice guy finishing last” bit. And I’m also not a goofy as he is, but overall, I would say I empathise with him, even if I don’t quite identify with him.
If you had to write a sequel to the Mask (ignoring Son of the Mask), what would you carry over from the first film?
Emily: The night time constraint placed on the activation of the mask’s abilities. And probably its joy in falling into the hands of helpless men and dogs.
Paul: If you weren’t going to carry over Ipkiss, you’d need someone else that likes cartoon logic (and generally cartoons) as the zaniness made that film. I too like the lore that it can only be used at night, though I’d play into that more, maybe the moon’s lunar influence or something? I’d also make sure the mask gets shared around, so we can see what it’s like on different characters, like in the film.
Emily: I think the park scene needed better motivational build-up for Tina or the Mask’s advances needed to be toned down. Like, she needs to go there desiring the Mask more on a romantic level and then shown more clearly that the Mask’s advances are way more than she was expecting. Plus have the Mask realise this and realise that even in that form he can’t have everything his way.
Paul: I know it’s a bad complaint, but I remember watching it on VHS and some of the colours didn’t look quite right (some bits had blazing red, other colours were dulled) and there was strobing on clothes. As for the film’s content itself, I think the manipulation of Dorean to take his mask off was a little too easy.
Love or hate The Mask ? Have a different fave or worst moment? Only ever read the comics it’s based on and never watched the film? Let us know in the comments below.