Sequels, given enough time between the previous installment and you’ll have to be creative to recapture what went well. But when you’ve lost your leading stars, it can feel like you’ll have to start over as oppose continuing on what you’ve established. But from dire circumstances, a sequel managed to create something magical. That sequel was Son of the Mask.
When aspiring animator, Tim Avery, life couldn’t get anymore… content. His dog finds a mysterious mask, that gives him both a boost in personality and powers beyond his dreams, but as a result, Tim’s wife goes into labour with a young boy, who takes after his dad in more ways than one. But it turns out that the mask has one very omnipotent owner, who is heaven sent on returning it to his property and its consequences, including a dog who enjoys the magical disguise, and one extraordinary baby.
Fans of the delightful devilish Dark Horse comics will be disappointed that the comedic capering has been compounded in the sequel. But I would imagine that the majority of them would be won over by the films attempt to lovingly homage the works of Tex Avery. Effects had moved on from the early 90s, now a live action film can be even zanier than the original planned all those years ago. You now get Rube Goldbergian sequences of carnage, as Tim’s suburban home is reduced to a cartoonish war zone. Cartoonish being the operative word here as the film is a valentines day letter to the craft of Animation, from the characters everyday job to direct re-enactments of classics like The Singing Frog.
When embodied by the mischievous mask, Tim reminds me of Max Headroom and his cover of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” that feels like a return to the wacky charm that audiences fell in love with. But Son of the Mask offers more by remaining faithful to its roots. Ben Stein returns, and we discover Edge City’s river flows into an aptly named city called Fringe City. We also deep dive into the origins of the mask and get to meet the gods that are responsible. Both Odin and Loki are played by British actors Bob Hoskins, and Alan Cummings respectively. It’s Cummings that carriers a lot of the film as Loki whose sense of humour, and overall sassiness helps elevate the films comedic output. But credit should also be given to Jamie Kennedy and T.G.A.G.A.A.P.P. star Traylor Howard, who make excellent comedic foils.
It’s quite fitting that a more family orientated take on The Mask would be such fun for all the family. Still retaining the elements that made the property such a success, with a new cast, setting, and gags With top-notch animation and antics for the kids, and touching family drama for the grown-ups, Son of the Mask shows that despite perilous odds, it follows in its father’s footsteps well.
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