Plot: Although he is normally just a regular guy, since he discovered a mystical mask that gives him incredible powers, Stanley Ipkiss has trouble just living a quiet life and finds himself drawn into some wild adventures. Perhaps he sees a chance to be hero, but more often than not, he just turns into The Mask for some mischief and fun, though things rarely go as expected. But it isn’t all fun and games for Stanley, as sometimes others wind up bumping into the magical mask, by accident or otherwise, which means anyone from a baby to Stanley’s dog Max could be superpowered. So not only does he have to contend with himself under the influence under the mask, but protect others from the mask and navigate some dangerous scenarios.
Entertainment Value: The Mask was a box office smash and turned a rather dark source comic into a lighter take on the concept, a trend that continued here with the animated series. This is a cartoon aimed at a younger audience, so this goes for broke with the Looney Tunes inspired slapstick and is tied in with the movie adaptation, rather than the comic books. The premise is an ideal one for an animated show, as the powers of the mask can run rampant and go in all kinds of directions that live action would struggle to bring to life. And the show takes advantage of that freedom, giving us some wild, over the top narrative threads that let the creative potential of the mask loose. I also like that the show keeps things simple at times as well, so it isn’t just one bonkers moment after another. A nice balance of low stakes episodes and more involved ones, which I think is one reason The Mask works so well. Some cartoons adapted from movies tend to veer from the source too much, but this one is well rooted in the movie’s world, at least as a starting point.
In a role that Jim Carrey nailed to near perfection, Rob Paulsen had some big shoes to fill, but he steps in and assumes the Ipkiss mantle well. There’s a similar tone, but it doesn’t feel like an out and out Carrey impersonation, just a familiar thread woven into a new take on the character. A host of voice over all stars are also present, such as Neil Ross, Jim Cummings, Tress MacNeille, and of course, the legend Frank Welker. A good lineup of guest stars also populate the show, with Tim Curry in a recurring role that offers some great entertainment. As for the animation, it won’t dazzle the senses, but it looks good as far as 90s cartoons are concerned. The overall look is basic and not overly detailed, but I did appreciate the character designs and classic cartoon elements. So The Mask might not be a visual wonder, but it holds up well enough. This first season has fifteen total episodes, so it offers a good amount of content and of course, has the obligatory Christmas episode. If you’re a fan of classic style cartoons or The Mask, give this first season a spin.
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