Without The Mask.

It's funny how time changes perception...

As a thirteen year-old in 1994, I took my youngest brother to the cinema for a viewing of Jim Carrey comedy "The Mask". It was a pretty successful movie, and helped launch the careers of both him and Cameron Diaz; two actors of greater talent, then their credentials currently afford them.

I loved the movie, but more so, the central character; once he donned Low-Ki's wooden ornament and turned into a bald-headed, super-confident green man, with pearly whites and a sparkling suit. I never saw anything in Stanley Ipkiss, for he was too kind and compassionate; as in, gutless. Whereas with The Mask, I admired his raw energy, crazy antics, ability to make every last set of eyes centre on nobody but him, and his anarchic desire to cause havoc everywhere he went, without any form of remorse or compassion - (within reason; I wouldn't have liked him had he thrown a Dog into a river, or committed rape - Vivid Videos porn-parody department, take note.)

Watching it again, as an adult of 31 years of age, I expected to feel the same love for the rubber-man; as I revisited his array of emotionless exposition. The bank robbery, impeccable seduction of Cameron Diaz, imaginative use of hammers and car parts, and any other shit he could conjure up to indulge my impressionable eyes. Unfortunately, ten minutes after the transformation of Stanley Ipkiss into his alter-ego; around the moment he morphs a Balloon into a Tommy Gunn (the weapon, not the foolish boxer in Rocky V), and begins firing rounds at a group of amoral yet innocent hoodlums (as a child, I never considered he could have committed murder from this action), my mind started to echo one sentence, over and over; "Blimey, this guy is a fucking prick!"

I mean seriously, how big an ego does The Mask have, to the point he empties the vaults of the bank he works at for no reason whatsoever, destroys his own apartment corridor (pretty stupid, when you think about it), overtake a gangster run nightclub whilst pulling the bosses missus, and turn an entire Police unit into a conga line? While funny in parts, I sure wouldn't want the guy as a Prison cell mate, go on a long drive with him, or worst of all, invite him to a funeral. Beyond some acid crazed warehouse rave in the middle of nowhere, you wouldn't - and most likely, couldn't, take the dude anywhere. 

In many ways, the mask reminds me of those you meet, who are abundantly over-the-top, the first time you are introduced; they leave you really excited for a few days, yet shortly after this, you become sick to death of hearing them, seeing them, and most of all, being in the same room as them; If an empty vessel does indeed make the loudest noise, then The Mask is by far, the emptiest vessel of them all.

Perhaps I ignore the deeper message, and the knowledge the concept is a lot darker than the young audience the producers aimed for; forgetting The Mask is in fact a way of releasing all the main characters inhibitions and Machiavellian desires - even though they eventually serve no purpose; as he discovers the nice, genuine guy he is without it, is a real piece of gold. Shit, the smoking Tina Carlyle even falls in love with him - whereas she learned to despise green baldie face, after realising he was nothing more than a gimmick, hiding away a multitude of substance. 

The more I write this, the more I realise the real character underneath is actually quite beautiful - so always be who you truly are. As far as The Mask is concerned, any time I think of him, I only ever hear the word, wanker! I am now too frightened to re-watch that old childhood favourite, "Commando".


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