The Mask

Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Running Time 98 minutes Commentary Tracks None
RSDL/Flipper No/No Other Extras Cast Biographies
Mini Featurette - "The Making Of"
Cast & Crew Interviews
Region 4    
Distributor Roadshow Home Entertainment    
RRP $34.95    

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan MPEG 2.0 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio N/A Dolby Digital 2.0 
16x9 Enhancement N/A Soundtrack Languages English (MPEG 2.0 )
English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles None    

Plot Synopsis

    The Mask is probably going to be Jim Carrey's defining movie. The movie is an absolutely perfect showcase of his comedic talents. The Mask is based on a comic book of the same name, and seamlessly blends live action with computer animation.

    The movie is set in Edge City, and it opens by showing us the release of an innocuous-looking wooden mask into the town's main river. Next, we meet Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), a bank teller and all around dweeb. Soon, we meet Stanley's friend Charlie (Richard Jeni) who fancies himself as a ladies man, and we also meet Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz), who comes into the bank ostensibly to open an account but is actually there to 'scope the place for a robbery.

    Charlie has tickets to get into the local trendy night club, the Coco Bongo, and invites Stanley to join him. Stanley gets shut out, but runs into Tina outside the club. Stanley stops on a bridge over the river, at a very low point in his life, and sees what he thinks is a body in the river, which he goes to rescue. He finds a bunch of rubbish and The Mask.

    The fun starts when Stanley tries on The Mask later that night, and it transforms him "from zero to hero". Much mayhem follows, as he has fun with his apartment manager, an irate motorist, some hoods, and his auto mechanics. His antics lead a detective, Lieutenant Mitch Kellaway (Peter Riegert) to his door, but nothing can be proven.

    The next day, Stanley tries to throw away The Mask, but cannot. We then get to see the bad guys; Niko (Orestes Matacena), and Dorian (Peter Greene). Dorian is trying to usurp Niko. Later that night, Stanley dreams about Tina, and puts on The Mask so that he can meet her again. Once again, much mayhem ensues. Importantly, The Mask inadvertently foils a bank robbery that the bad guys had planned, which makes Dorian very angry. The Mask also has some fun at Club Bongo with Tina and the bad guys.

    Once again, the next morning, the Lieutenant comes calling, and this prompts Stanley to bring The Mask to Dr Neumann (Benjamin J. Stein), where we learn that The Mask is a representation of the Norse god of mischief, Loki, who is a night god - hence The Mask only works at night.

    The next bit of mayhem occurs at Landfill Park, where Tina and Stanley meet. Soon, The Mask puts in another hysterical appearance along with most of the Edge City police department. Stanley is rescued from all of this by Peggy Brandt (Amy Yasbeck), a reporter with the Edge Tribune, but she actually sets Stanley up to be captured by Dorian who now takes possession of The Mask. Dorian, unfortunately, does not make a fun-filled Mask at all.

    We return to the Coco Bongo club for the climax of the movie, where Dorian plans to take over the underworld of the city. Much mayhem ensues, and even Milo gets in on the act at one stage.

Transfer Quality


    This is unfortunately a rather ordinary DVD transfer. The transfer is presented as a Pan & Scan transfer (aspect ratio 1.33:1 or 4:3). There were a number of scenes where it was clear that significant picture information was missing from the transfer because of its Pan & Scan nature. A transfer in the original aspect ratio would be much preferred. I note that the Region 1 version of this title is a dual format disc, Widescreen and Pan & Scan.

    The transfer was generally crisp and clear. Shadow detail was satisfactory.

    The colour was quite muted, which I felt was a great pity, as this is a movie full of vibrant greens and yellows and other bright colours, and this transfer did not show this characteristic at all. This is probably my biggest problem with this transfer, as I feel this movie should be one that dazzles visually, and it simply doesn't do this, even in the most colourful of sequences.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of numerous scenes with significant aliasing - venetian blinds were the worst culprit (46:42-47:10), though another bad example of aliasing was found in a room full of newspapers (61:24-62:28). The aliasing was a significant and distracting problem throughout the movie. There were only a few film artefacts, and no major ones to speak of.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default audio is English MPEG 2.0 channel audio, surround encoded. Also present on the DVD is a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack (which is the track that I listened to). The soundtrack was encoded at a very low level, and I had to listen to the soundtrack at a significantly higher volume setting than usual (even more so than Priscilla which I reviewed before this title). I note that the Region 1 version of this title has a 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and intelligible, but I felt it became muffled at times, making it hard to understand at times. This was actually quite a significant problem with the soundtrack, and I was tempted at times to give the soundtrack some treble boost to make it easier to listen to.

    The musical score is vibrant and exciting, in keeping with the overall tone of the movie.

     The surround channel was used many for music, with some ambience placed in the surrounds at times. The surrounds were silent during a significant portion of this movie, making it a somewhat muffled up-front soundtrack.

    The .1 channel received the subwoofer output from this soundtrack, but wasn't particularly heavily used.


    There are a good selection of extras on this DVD.

    The theatrical trailer is present, presented in a 1.33:1 (4:3) aspect ratio, with an MPEG audio track only (no Dolby Digital soundtrack). This sounded mono.

    A 3 minute featurette, entitled "The Making Of", but more like an extended trailer with cast and crew snippets included was interesting but very brief. It was presented with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and with an MPEG soundtrack in mono.

    Interview snippets with many cast members and with the director were included, including a brief interview with Milo (Max The Dog). As is typical with Roadshow Home Entertainment extras, these are presented as very brief 30 second snippets rather than being strung together.

    Finally, cast biographies for Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz are present.

    As always, Village tend to put a few more extras on their DVDs compared with Columbia Tristar and Warner Brothers, and they are to be commended for this. In the grand scheme of things, these extras are reasonable, without being remarkable.


    The Mask is a showcase for Jim Carrey. It is filled with stunning visual effects, and races from one comedic situation to another at a speed which almost leaves you breathless.

    The video quality is quite a disappointment, as this movie has the potential to make a gorgeous-looking DVD. This transfer failed to live up to that, particularly with the muted colour saturation and the numerous aliasing artefacts present on the disc.

    The audio quality is quite muffled and flat, and is only a Dolby surround soundtrack rather than a 5.1 mix.

    Sadly, I cannot recommend this DVD because of these problems. I would suggest considering the Region 1 version, which has both Widescreen and Pan & Scan versions on it, and also has a 5.1 soundtrack.

Ratings (out of 5)


Michael Demtschyna
24th November 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer