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Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

On Son of the Mask

2005-02-25

Category: movies

Finding myself in need of a wind-down activity and wanting to get out of the apartment, I decided to go to a movie. Since I?m cheap bastard, a matinee seemed to be just the thing. I decided to see the ?Son of the Mask?.

The movie experience started in a rather exciting way. The usher came in and asked to see everyone?s tickets. There were four of us in the theatre and only one had purchased a ticket for the film being shown. The others were escorted out and I got to have a sadistic giggle at the people being caught at petty theft.

Anyway, the movie is a sequel to the Jim Carey movie from about ten years ago. I really liked the earlier one and figured this would be a hokey rip off. I was surprised that it was not so hokey (maybe a little) and not too much of a sequel. This movie could have stood on it?s own and that?s a rare thing to say about a sequel.

The only thing carried over from the original was the Mask itself. This mask has the supernatural ability to express the wearer?s subconscious mind through cartoon like alteration of reality. The story lines from both movies say that Germano-Norse deity Loki, god of mischief, made the mask. In this film, Loki plays a more direct role.

The film?s main theme is a father?s responsibility to his child. The main character, played by Jamie Kennedy, is a father coming to grips with the reality of being a father. Though he feels burdened at first, he learns his lesson in the end and is able to pass the message on to others.

Naturally, the film has all the cartoon like special effects of the original. There are a few times when the effects seem like they were done for their own value and did not add to the movie. Fortunately these instances weren?t as few as I expected going into the movie. Many that would have seemed gratuitous if one had seen only the previews do actually have a reason in the story.

The writers did take liberties with the Old Norse stuff. The largest gaff is presenting Loki as the son of Odin. If you ask your favorite, ancient Norse Heathen, he or she will tell you that Loki is a Thurse, or one of the primeval race of giants who were always at odd with the gods. Though Odin is referred to as the All Father, he is just the chief among the gods and not actually the pater for everyone.

Over all, though it was nice to see the Old Fellows get out and stretch a bit in a movie with the family market in mind. Usually if a movie makes reference to anyone or anything from that pantheon, the entities are presented as less friendly. Alan Cumming does a good job as Loki and Bob Hoskins is wonderful as a gruff old Odin (and remembers to keep the One Eye shut all the time!)

The child is played by twins (as is typical of parts for toddlers) Liam and Ryan Falconer. More importantly, Traylor Howard plays the wife and mother. She?s a very skilled actress and happens to be cute.

If you visit the official web site for the film, you will see, in the upper left hand corner of the screen, a link labeled ?Teachers? Guide?. This link takes you to a section with educational materials using the movie as a theme. Though the materials are a bit on the promotional side, I still thought this was pretty neat.

My suggestion is that you see the movie. A weekday matinee or wait for video, because you don?t want to be around a bunch of kids who are watching live action versions of their favorite cartoon activities


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