If you grew up on '90/'00s cinema, like I did, you got a warmly comforting feeling watching Jim Carrey's lively, maniacal performance as Dr. Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog. The video game adaptation wasn't necessarily peak Carrey, but it was a return to the rambunctious, high-energy, go-for-broke zaniness that turned the former sketch comedy star into one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. Back in the '90s, Jim Carrey's loose-cannon theatrics and "anything could happen" comedy style resulted in a number of high-grossing comedies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask, to name a mere few, that propelled his career and solidified him as one of the biggest comedy stars of the late 20th century. Despite all the success those movies brought to his career, however, Jim Carrey has been very averse to making any sort of sequel to his hit titles.
It's certainly understandable that Jim Carrey would be apprehensive about trying to make lightning strike twice. But for many folks out there, Carrey's live-wire villainous performance in Sonic the Hedgehog suggested a potential return-to-form for the comedic actor, causing some to speculate whether the comedy superstar might possibly return to the very silly, extremely rambunctious, and joyfully goofy characters that helped define his career. One of the most noteworthy appeared in 1994's The Mask, one of several mid-90s movies that cemented the actor's A-list status. In a time where we're getting a number of sequels to older properties, one must ask the question: Is it time for a real Mask sequel? Or, more specifically, should we get a Mask sequel? The answer might be simple for some, but it is a little more complicated for us. Let's explore both the pluses and minuses of making this sequel today.
Comic Book Properties Like Mask Are Bigger Than Ever
Some people might not know this, but The Mask is loosely based on a series of Dark Horse comics called Mask from Doug Mahnke and John Arcudi. The comics also follow a human cartoon with a green face running amok and causing havoc, though the comics themselves are much more violent and graphic. The movie adaptation opted for something that was goofier, more slapstick driven, and perhaps more kid-friendly, which was the right call. The '90s were just starting to dip their toes into comic book adaptations, and this one focused more on the universal appeal of seeing a man become an animated character come-to-life. It was also benefitted enormously from Jim Carrey's wide wealth of facial expressions and his limber physicality too.
If they decided to make a sequel, however, they would likely have an opportunity to follow more in the vein of the original comic books — for better or worse. Particularly with the success of movies like Deadpool, which really opened the door for more R-rated comic book properties (though one could argue it actually started with Blade), making another Mask movie wouldn't seem out-of-the-question. In fact, given how successful The Mask was, I've got no doubt that someone wanted to do it at some point down the road. Since Jim Carrey's staunch stance on sequels prevented that from happening, the producers involved opted instead to make the very loose sequel, Son of the Mask, which might be one of the worst movies ever made (in my view). Nevertheless, even if Carrey doesn't make the sequel, a reboot should certainly be considered. It'd be interesting to see an R-rated Mask come to be.
But, Is Jim Carrey Too Old To Play The Mask Again?
So, we need to address the elephant in the room. Specifically, Jim Carrey is 58 years old. While he's certainly looking good for his age, and it's natural that he would be getting older (if anything, we'd be concerned if he wasn't!), there's the simple fact of the matter that he might simply be too old to be reprising this character. Granted, with the help of CG and other special effects, it's possible that the character can be brought back to life through other means. But would it be in Jim Carrey's best interest to return to his popular 1994 character at this point in the venture, or has that ship sailed for good?
One of the reasons why Jim Carrey's performance in Sonic the Hedgehog was so surprising was because it presented once more that loose physicality and vibrant performance energy that we're used to seeing from Jim Carrey of yesteryear. It felt both fresh and familiar at the same time, in a good way. But playing The Mask is a whole other story. It's not simply a matter of being able to be loose and spry; it requires the performer to really give everything to the performance, in a way that no doubt must be extremely taxing, physically. Does Jim Carrey still have it in him to bring that to the screen?
CGI VFX Have Improved Immensely In The Past 25 Years
It's kinda hard to believe, but nearly 30 years have passed since The Mask's 1994 release. Certainly, that makes me feel old. The mid '90s movie was certainly a product of its time, but I'd say that the visual effects hold up decently well, all things considered. Certainly, some of the CG is dated, but the mix of CG and practical effects played in the movie's favor, and the added cartoonishness of The Mask's character also works in its favor. But in the past 25+ years since The Mask's release, it's safe to say that CGI VFX have come a long way. If we had a sequel, they could really go nuts with it.
Aided by the wonders of modern technology, which helped to bring Sonic the Hedgehog to life in his hit new movie, a sequel to The Mask could really benefit from the technology available by modern visual effects. Certainly, there are a lot of things that computers can do today, and the number of wild, absurd visual gags that can be done are wonderful to think about. Certainly, as I mentioned earlier, the use of visual effects might also help Jim Carrey, particularly if he's unable to do some of the intensive stunts needed for the character. Though I would hope that the mix of practical effects and CGI of the first Mask would be present in this hypothetical new sequel. The Son of the Mask's over-dependence on CGI was one of its many, many problems.
Jim Carrey Sequels Don't Always Turn Out So Great
As mentioned earlier, Jim Carrey hasn't been a big fan of making sequels throughout his career. While producers have constantly knocked on his door, hoping to have the actor reprise any number of his famous, beloved characters, the actor has turned down many of these opportunities time and time again. That's how we got a number of dreadful movies like Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Evan Almighty, and the aforementioned Son of The Mask. But Carrey has good reason to be wary of making sequels. As he noted once before, sequels tend to focus on recreating a spark instead of doing something new and organic. Especially when a lot of time has passed, the sequels don't usually have what it takes to fully bring the magic back.
Throughout his career, Jim Carrey has only made a few sequels. Those include Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Dumb And Dumber To, as well as Kick-Ass 2, with the important distinction that he wasn't involved with the original Kick-Ass. Suffice to say, no matter how you feel about those movies themselves, it's hard to find someone who thinks they are better than the original. Maybe that's the case with the second Ace Ventura movie, but even if someone feels that to be true, the better point of comparison would have to be Dumb and Dumber To. That was another example where Carrey had a chance to return to one of his most popular '90s characters, and the results... weren't great. Admittedly, I don't have the burning hatred that a few folks do for that movie, but I'd be extremely hard-pressed to claim that it's anywhere near as good as the original Dumb and Dumber, and that is being kind.
Ultimately, it's hard to say whether or not Jim Carrey should take the leap to make The Mask sequel. There are a lot of people who love that original film, and it would be wonderful to see Carrey channel the energy he brought to Sonic the Hedgehog into this revived property.
Also, it should be noted that Jim Carrey told ComicBook.com that he'd be willing to make a sequel to The Mask only if they got "some crazy visionary filmmaker" involved with the new movie. To quote Carrey himself a la Dumb and Dumber, "So... you're telling me there's a chance?" It's not necessarily a "yes," but it's also not a hard "no" either. It's looking increasingly likely that Sonic the Hedgehog will get a sequel, and the actor appears to be game for the opportunity. As he notes, the character isn't finished with his story, so there's more room to play. Perhaps that can be the case for The Mask too? That'd be sssmmokin'!
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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