Directed by Chuck Russell
USA 1994

Transformation scenes are of course the soul of comic book fiction. Billy Batson shouts "Shazam!", Clark Kent darts into a phone booth, Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, and in every case an insignificant wimp becomes a superhero. No wonder adolescent boys respond to these stories so powerfully.

Consider what happens to Stanley when he puts on the mask. He is instantly transformed into a maniacal whirlwind of energy, dressed in a 1940s-style zoot suit - a cross between the Joker and Aladdin's genie, with elements of the Shadow.

"The Mask" is a perfect vehicle for the talents of Jim Carrey, who underwhelmed me with "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective" but here seems to have found a story and character that work together with manic energy. One of the key design decisions on the movie must have involved the Mask character's makeup. It transforms Carrey's features into a much larger, comic-bookish parody, but at the same time the features are still able to move in a lifelike way. The notes with the film explain that makeup expert Greg Cannom realized Carrey's exaggerated facial expressions are part of his essence, and didn't want them lost behind makeup.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times  located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 29th, 1994

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

New Line Cinema - Region 1 - NTSC vs. New Line Cinema - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution New Line Cinema - Region 1 - NTSC New Line Cinema - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:41:06  1:41:12 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.77 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1, Video codec: VC-1

Feature: 18.2 Gig

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: New Line Cinema (Blu-ray)

NO BITRATE GRAPH FOR Blu-ray YET!

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) English True HD 5.1, English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: New Line Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Director Chuck Russell
• Deleted Scenes - Death of Peggy (2:04), Viking Scene (1:49)

• Trailers

DVD Release Date: March 26th, 1997

Snapper Case
Chapters: 31

Release Information:
Studio: New Line Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1.78:1, Video codec: VC-1

Feature: 18.2 Gig

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Director Chuck Russell
• Commentary by filmmakers
• Return to Edge City (27:16)
• Cartoon Logic (13:42)
• Introducing Cameron Diaz (13:17)
• What Makes Fido Run (10:50)
• Deleted Scenes - Death of Peggy (2:04), Viking Scene (1:49)

Blu-ray Release Date: December 9th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case
Chapters: 25
 

 

Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

This is pretty sloppy work from New Line Cinema. Firstly, we have the 1997 snapper-cased SD-DVD to compare to this new Blu-ray. The DVD initially came out over a decade ago and is single-layered and non-anamorphic. Colors were weak and detail poor - there were signs of boosting and it has light speckle and damage marks. Next to the Blu-ray it is cropped quite substantially with a lot of information missing from the frame and heads often chopped. On the back of the snapper-case it states "View The Mask in the finest quality available for your home theater with the sharpest picture and best sound'. <eyebrows raise>

Enter the Blu-ray - releasing in December 2008. Many early adopters to the 1080P format have an, often substantiated, dislike of New Line Cinema for their extensive use of DNR - perhaps more so than any other Blu-ray production company. While colors tower over the old windowboxed SD-DVD - it doesn't exhibit the detail that we have come to expect from high-definition - even considering the film's almost 15-year old age. It looks again to me like DNR. I don't think The Mask should be this soft even with a modest 18 Gig single-layered Blu-ray transfer. The image is darker, which is probably accurate but those sensitive to digital noise removal may find this close to unwatchable.

NOTE: The folder the Blu-ray files are housed is entitled 'Dumb_Dumber_...' which is coming out later this year. This appears to be a sloppy blunder.

 

Audio has a relevant boost to TrueHD and the mix is competent but I wouldn't say overly stellar. The film is loaded with instances of effect noises and these come through the Surround system with decent range. I'd say it is acceptable and demonstrative at times - certainly far in advance of the image quality. There is a fun score by Randy Edelman. A standard 5.1 is also offered and a German DUB along with English and German subtitles. I'm uncertain but suspect this may be a region-free Blu-ray release. 

Duplicated from the original release are the commentary by Director Chuck Russell, 2 Deleted Scenes - Death of Peggy (2:04), Viking Scene (1:49)
and Trailers. New (but presumably appeared on a later SD-DVD edition, which I don't own) are a commentary by filmmakers, featurettes entitled Return to Edge City (27:16), Cartoon Logic (13:42) focusing on Tex Avery, Introducing Cameron Diaz (13:17) about the extensive search for the Tina Carlyle character and how she got the part, and What Makes Fido Run (10:50) about animal casting.

While the Blu-ray is obviously superior I am suggesting that New Line Cinema get their act together for high-definition releases as they are developing quite the negative reputation. The Mask has lost some its luster over time - not quite the fun ride it initially was and this Blu-ray is very similarly underwhelming.

Gary W. Tooze

 



Extras


 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

Mark on SD (below knees) - none on Blu-ray
 

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) New Line Cinema  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) New Line Cinema - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution New Line Cinema - Region 1 - NTSC New Line Cinema - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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