Usually, this is correct (because oh man can I name some animated adaptations that suck all that is wholesome and good out of the animation medium), but first I'm going to show off an animated adaptation that, in my opinion, works better than the movie it spawned from. Say hello to The Mask, and let me answer your first question: yes, there was an actual The Mask cartoon.
There are a ton of things are wrong about this show, making its 3 season, 52 episode success almost baffling. It's better to just go about them in list form, and really, it ends up sounding like a recipe list for making the perfect disaster.
1. It's a superhero cartoon about a movie that was nothing about superheroes.
2. Key elements are discarded. The mask can now work during the day and Stanley's girlfriend (who was Cameron Diaz in her very first star role, by the way) is completely missing. And Peggy, who was considered a villain and was even killed in a deleted scene, becomes The Mask's friend in the series.
3. 80% of the cast was completely fabricated from scratch and would so not fit in with the movie's cast. Okay, ask yourself. When you watched that Jim Carrey film, did you ever stop and think "You know what this needs? A mutant honeybee monster, a half-balloon man, a talking fish, a Mesopotamian woman who controls cheese, and Satan!" to yourself? If you answered "yes", then you were one of the character designers on this show.
4. This was created during the peak of a Jim Carrey craze and two other Jim Carrey films were being adapted into cartoons as well.
5. They turned two iconic lines in the movie into catchphrases. "Sssssmokin'!" and "Somebody stop me!" were used ad nausem in this show's run.
and worst of all...
6. It's a watered-down animated adaptation of a movie that's a watered-down adaptation of a very violent comic book. Fans of the Mirage TMNT comic books should instantly know this feeling all too well.
|I'm willing to bet that a large amount of people will respond to this with "There was a comic!?"|
Well, it did. Partly because Film Roman knew just what the hell they were doing and allowed the show to have an actual budget. I don't want to risk gushing too much about how inexplicably awesome this show is, but let's just say it's way more well-remembered than the two other Jim Carrey shows, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura, for a very good reason. Plus it helps that I like this cartoon when I don't particularly care for the movie (I can't enjoy Jim Carrey unless if he's in small doses), so it does its job well.
Anyways, I'm done talking about the show. Now for the actual episode I'm going to dive right into. For the first episode I'm covering from this show, I'm going to cover...the first episode I ever personally watched, thanks to a friend linking me and telling me "this is better than it sounds, trust me". Not the first episode of the show; the one that first exposed me to the show. Which doesn't make much sense, but hey. My blog; my rules.
I will warn you, since this show currently doesn't have a DVD release, that means the copies I find on the Internet all contain network bugs. That being said, let's watch a cyborg, a hideous bee mutant, Satan, a woman with a cheese obsession, a half-shark mobster, Ickis from Aaahhh! Real Monsters, and a nerd in skintight underwear sit around at a table and discuss their mental issues with Ben Stein in...
Availability: Online Only
This episode opens on a very stately highrise city building in the middle of the night, first showing the lovely art deco exterior and then taking us to a beautiful interior filled with statues, priceless paintings, glistening marble floors, and modernized Roman pillars. Therefore, it seems fitting that the first people we see in this cartoon are driving a little mini scooter through an otherwise posh, lovely locale, subtly destroying what looks to be thousands of dollars in interior decorating with sooty carbon emissions and tire treads. What assholes.
|Reason #27 why I want this show on DVD - I want to know what that sign says.|
Well, that, and the fact that one of them has sharp teeth and claws. That's usually a giveaway.
|"Would it kill you to at least turn on the radio?"|
Since there's a lot of villains present, I'm going to take the time and introduce the villains in the order that this episode introduces them before moving on with the actual plot. Mostly so that no one gets lost in my walkthrough because this episode has six major villains in its ranks (Seven if you count Pete and Lonnie as separate. I don't.) so it'd be incredibly easy to get mixed up with such a large cast.
|Just because he's an evil villain doesn't mean he can't enjoy a good Atari game every once in a while.|
Pretorius is fun to watch because he's absolutely calm and serious about absolutely everything. He'll talk about bizarre, crazy stuff like taking pictures of aquatic sea life living on the moons of Neptune (and yes, this happens in an episode) and sound like he's completely sane. Somehow that makes The Mask's antics funnier, because he'll be in a situation where some man with a green head shapeshifts into a pirate with a cannon for an arm and all he'll do is stand there and look slightly annoyed.
In short, Pretorius rocks and he knows he rocks.
|"Ask me about Jersey Shore one more time and I won't be responsible for my actions."|
Oh, and Lonnie the Shark is actually a subtle homage to Lawrence Limburger from Biker Mice From Mars. I love it when slightly rare cartoons reference cartoons that are equally rare. It's like if Project GeeKer referenced Flying Rhino Junior High.
|She's still mad that The X-Men rejected her audition.|
Compared to the other villains, she's not very exciting. Other than the fact that she's a woman in a superhero show that doesn't have huge boobs or a revealing skintight outfit, there's not much more to say about her. I think the only reason she's even here is because Pretorius wanted to be equal opportunity and have at least one chick in his evil cartel.
|Holy Bad Costume Choices, Batman!|
Which is really sad, because it's fun how much of a jerk he is to all the other villains. He picks fights and threatens to shove lightning bolts up where the sun doesn't shine. It's just dude, Tempest, you look like a dork. Underwear worn on the outside of your costume went out of style fifty years ago. You're embarrassing the other villains.
|He likes to show up at high school science classes to give lectures on lab equipment safety.|
But despite that, he's probably the most laid-back of the group, despite the fact that his motive for committing crime is the fact that his mutation changed his metabolism so much that he has to keep eating honey so he doesn't starve to death. Dwell on that and how unbelievably dark that is. He doesn't commit crime for fun; he commits crime to survive. The Stinger essentially acts as if he's still a pudgy, middle-aged college professor even though he now looks like something that would star in a B-grade monster film. He also controls an entire swarm of hyperintelligent monster bees because if a giant bee monster doesn't frighten you, a giant swarm of aggressive bees will. Bees are scary.
Anyways, back to the actual episode. Pretorius takes the time to introduce the villains one by one. I'm not going to post what he said since it's basically a cliffnotes version of what I wrote.
|I love that face on Pretorius. It's like he knows how stupid a Goddess of Cheese sounds.|
And yes, I know the character has to keep eating honey in order to live, but he should still be more courteous.
|"I'll have what he's having."|
This is a very common plot that gets heavily used in superhero cartoons, but what sells this scene is the fact that Pretorius delivers his lines like he loves listening to himself talk. It's like he can barely contain his excitement on how awesome it would be to have a team of buddies that share a common interest in villainy. And after The Mask is defeated, they can hang out and watch movies! It'll be fun!
|"Man, I'm awesome."|
|"Yeah, fine, ignore me. See if I care! Maybe I'll go down the street and ask the other, |
more competent villains to join my evil cartel!"
By the way, in this scene, we learn that Stinger's mutation has made it so that his voice buzzes. It's an interesting effect that I didn't see used that often in other shows with bug mutants, and really, it just adds to list of reasons why this character needed to appear in more than two episodes.
Also, Stinger, you could've just raised your hand if you had an issue instead of rubbing it in that you're the only one in the room with wings.
|Nobody likes a showoff, Stinger.|
It helps that the moment he hears that none of the villains want to agree with his obviously brilliant idea, the Tim Curry cyborg adopts a look of pure disgust. Yeah, that's what you get when you try to make a villain team-up that consists of a giant bee and a woman who shoots cheese out of her hands, Pretorius.
|"I hate this town and everyone in it."|
Oh, okay, this character's name is really Dr. Neumann, but I like to call him Ben Stein because that's who voices him. Like Tim Curry, anyone who watches cartoons on a regular basis has probably run into Ben Stein's voice at least once. It's one of those iconic voices of our generation.
Since morale is low amongst the supervillains in Edge City on account the hero they have to deal with is an invulnerable reality-warper that has practically no weaknesses, Pretorius decided he was going to be helpful and bring in an actual psychiatrist to talk to the villains that would be most useful for Pretorius's evil schemes. Now the true nature of the convention of evil comes to light. The convention of evil is...a therapy session. It's basically like those AA meetings, only with more mutants. I'm on the edge of my seat with excitement!
What makes this scene great is, when Tempest yells about how he doesn't have any repressed hostility, the person sitting next to him slowly inches away from him and Ben Stein replies "Yes I can see that" in his typical deadpan snark. Trust me, Dr. Neumann, Tempest has more issues than the back catalog of TV Guide. It's better not opening that Pandora's Box.
|You know you've got problems when a mutant bee monster is staring at you like you're crazy.|
|Isn't slapping a giant picture of The Mask on a book for Maskophobes kind of counterproductive?|
Yes, you can see where this is going. I just tricked you into reading a review about a clip show. I'm that cruel. But you'll see in a moment just why I actually really like the way this clip show is done.
The first people up are Pete and Lonnie, probably because, unlike the other villains invited to this place, they debuted in Season 1 and therefore have seniority over everyone else. They've been making rounds in this city while the others were still mundane citizens.
|"Stop saying I look like Marlon Brando."|
The flashback instantly throws us right into the action and shows Pete and three angry fat dudes with beards looking very upset that The Mask is skating around in an ice rink. I know the context behind the scene, but for now, I'm going to pretend like I'm watching this without any previous knowledge of the other episodes. That, and you wouldn't believe me if I tried to give you a short summary of what does happen in Malled, because it involves stolen baked goods, a dog wearing The Mask, exercise machines, and a bank manager getting his back waxed.
|I hate that I have the phrase "getting his back waxed" next to a screenshot of hairy fat guys.|
Oh, and he beats the fat guys with ice skating. Don't ask me how he does it; I'm not the one who wrote this episode.
|Lumberjacks on ice!|
And, like all episodes that deal with flashbacks, this leaves me wondering how Pete was able to describe this. Did Pete see The Mask enter the movie theater? How did he know what The Mask said to the camera, breaking the fourth wall? Something's fishy with their story.
|A nearly empty theater with the only person inside looking very angry? They must be showing Son of the Mask.|
...how did Lonnie and Pete survive being in an elevator where the cable snapped anyway? Did all of those corpulent rolls of flesh in that small area of space shield all the occupants from harm? I'm imagining the kind of cushioning effect packaging peanuts have, but with more human fluids. Have fun with your mental images, readers.
|This screenshot contains fat.|
And what happened to the nameless guy in the blue suit from earlier? His chair's empty!
|My guess is that Lonnie got hungry and ate him. He is Lonnie the Shark...|
|"Can I get a different seat? The Robin dork is creeping me out."|
Also, cartoons need to stop using eye lasers because they never look right. It looked stupid in Loonatics Unleashed and it looks stupid here.
|It's dangerously cheesy!|
Enter The Mask, who's decides that the only reason he's going to help is because the reporter thinks that an ancient witch turning things into dairy products makes for a better story than a known presence that's been existing in the city for quite a while now. Hah hah, it's funny because he's an attention whore.
|No, in this cartoon, he doesn't save the TV reporter on a weekly basis.|
Oh, and he saves the people on the bridge by inflating his butt. For some reason, I feel like sharing this to my readers.
|So that's what inspired that annoying 90's rap song!|
|And then he asks her to tell him a past encounter with The Mask, and then she tells him about the time she |
went into therapy where she had to relate a story about The Mask...
And that's honest to god where we get our commercial break. With the notion that this crowded room full of evil villains is going to die of smoke inhalation due to a freak accident with the gas valve.
|And why is there a fireplace in a conference room...?|
|"Man, you should've seen the looks on your faces. Classic."|
|His favorite people are lawyers, politicians, carnival workers, and the people who work at the DMV.|
Also, it's weird for me to write this, but I like this portrayal of The Devil. He looks like he totally enjoys his job and is actually charismatic, as opposed to some silly looking red guy with horns. I bet Satan was a lot more in favor of this cartoon adaptation of him as opposed to the strange transsexual thing with crab claws in The Powerpuff Girls.
|I'm sure the moment Pete signs that, he'll become a famous rock star that ends up dying at age 27.|
|It's sad that I honestly can't decide whether Tempest or Gorgonzola has the goofiest outfit.|
...and why are there papers on the table all of the sudden? Was Pretorius expecting everyone to take notes?
|"And just to settle the score, I'm not responsible for Batman and Robin. That was Hollywood's fault."|
Also, Satan dances like a boss. I guess Hell got a big National Endowment for the Arts grant.
|Would it be considered blasphemous to find this hot?|
I love how totally casual all the judges are about judging a contest where the competitors are some guy wearing an enchanted, reality-warping mask and Satan, by the way. Edge City's weird.
|"Eat your heart out, Ace Ventura!"|
|It'd be funny if one of them had the guts to say "Oh yeah? Well, I'm an atheist and |
I don't believe in you!" just to see Bub's reaction.
|Meanwhile, Pretorius just does not care that he's going to spend eternity in Hell. He's that composed.|
|I hope he realizes that honey's essentially fermented bee vomit...|
It also excuses the fact that his line was "I have a honey of a story to tell!". It's easy to ignore bee puns when the character can somehow smile with flesh-rending teeth and still look friendly.
|Awww, he's the happiest sin against nature ever.|
It's probably the latter, since Tempest follows up with "What's the matter? Does the truth have a nasty sting to it?". That little jerk knows just how to push the right buttons.
|"At least put some pants on, you freak!"|
"You first! I'm tired of staring at your underwear!"
|It's a good thing Tempest isn't allergic or else the next topic of discussion would be where to hide the body.|
|Tempest used WHIRLWIND! |
Enemy CONVENTION OF EVIL was blown away!
|Oh, right in the adult diaper!|
|"Come on, I can't be that ugly..."|
His flashback is run-of-the-mill "bad guy uses his powers to commit mass evil" story only, unlike the other villains' stories, his is a lot more deadly. Those bright yellow tighty-whiteys conceal the balls of a villain who loves to slaughter for fun. I mean, look at this screenshot. Those are the tops of skyscrapers floating in that sea of water. Don't try to tell me that countless people didn't die from this.
|It took the animators days to edit out all the floating corpses.|
Well, that, and the fact that you're wearing that outfit. Seriously, man. The little lock of hair in the shape of a lightning bolt just makes it so much worse.
Also, a better name for this episode should be "Spoilers of Evil" because I think it gave away the endings of two whole episodes.
|I'm sure the ninja turtles appreciated the spandex-wearing dork falling right on their doorstep.|
|Tempest is a licensed proctologist.|
|I like how no one wants to hang out with the repulsive arthropod.|
|Fun fact: Not once in the show does he actually use those claws.|
It's doubly infuriating for me because, in my opinion, The Stinger's probably the most interesting character in the group. At this point, I really don't have to say why.
|Go on. Ask him how he felt about the Wicker Man remake. I dare you.|
I will say this. The guy wins props for managing to have a giant villain motive rant that's completely devoid of bee puns even though he's a giant bee. I bet that took a huge amount of willpower on his part.
|"My first decree is that we destroy the ones responsible for Bee Movie!"|
Wait...wax gun? Wax gun!? How the hell did he build that? Just because he's a bee scientist doesn't mean he's also a mechanic.
Long story short (man, do I love using that phrase today), the wax gun doesn't work, so then they have a mine cart sequence that invokes Donkey Kong Country flashbacks to the people watching this. And, since The Stinger has a mine cart track that leads to a Dead End for no reason, this somehow leads to a hideous bee monster and The Mask bursting out of a giant beehive while riding a freaking motorcycle. God, I love cartoons.
|This deserves to be the cover of a Judas Priest album.|
You know what that means. It's time for the classic Scooby Doo ending!
|Come on, you had to have seen this coming.|
|As an Animation student, just looking at this perspective makes my drawing hand hurt.|
|So basically the moral is that therapy is all a lie? That's good to know, cartoon.|
Also, I love how it looks like The Mask KILLED Pete and Lonnie there.
There's a word for how disappointing this is, but personally I shouldn't be expecting so much from a clip show. Even if it does contain giant bees.
The Moral of this Cartoon
Villains, even if you try to band together, you're always going to lose to the hero. But don't worry, with a quick little therapy session, you can learn to accept the fact you're always going to fail.
Is it wrong to say that I love this show?
I mean, yes, I just watched a clip show and I just watched a cartoon that's a movie adaptation. But the character interactions are just so clever that you forget that you're watching the cartoon version of a Jim Carrey vehicle.
And the reason this clip show works for me is because of the parts inbetween the flashbacks. I like that each of the villains have their own separate personalities and bounce off each other in a really fun way. It makes them feel more like people as opposed to targets for the hero to beat up. I sort of have a soft spot where the villains interact with each other and they're not performing some evil scheme but instead hang out just to hang out. It's a plot device that's sadly underused.
It probably helps that this is an episode packed full of recognizable characters from the show but none of them go off-model and the animation is really smooth. This sounds like a weird thing for me to note, but if you ever watched Darkwing Duck's "Just Us Justice Ducks", you can turn the number of times the Fearsome Five go off-model into a drinking game. Especially Bushroot, who likes to lose his entire bone structure on a regular basis in Fearsome Five eps.
The characters interacted with the flashbacks in a way that melded the flashbacks with the new material. These characters are fun, the choice in characters was fun, and really, the only bad part I can say about this episode is that they never teamed up and made an episode where they tried to fight The Mask. Dude, seriously, how cool would that be? The other bad part is that a good number of these characters appear in only two episodes, and this episode is one of them. It's unfair that The Stinger only got one full episode to himself. Such a cool design needed to be used more often.