Son of the Mask appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though the transfer didn’t quite achieve greatness, it usually looked pretty solid.
Sharpness rarely faltered. Some wider shots occasionally displayed minor softness, but not to any significant degree. Mostly I felt the movie appeared nicely defined and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and only a little edge enhancement could be seen. Source defects like specks or marks were absent, but the image seemed a little grainier than expected.
As one might expect from this sort of flick, we got a very bright and vibrant palette. Usually it replicated the cartoony tones well, though they sometimes looked a smidgen messy, particularly in the scenes with colored lighting. However, the film frequently demonstrated vivid and lively tones. Blacks were pretty tight and dense, and low-light shots featured good delineation, though the grain made them a little less concise. Ultimately, the image was satisfactory, though it lacked anything to make it exceptional.
As with the original film, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Son of the Mask gave us an active piece of work. However, I must note it wasn’t quite as dazzling as I thought it’d be. Make no mistake - the audio used all five speakers well. The many cartoony sequences allowed elements to zoom around various parts of the spectrum, and they did so in reasonably convincing and distinctive ways. The surrounds kicked in a lot of unique audio and added a good deal of zip to the mix.
However, the track lacked a certain spark that would take it to “A” level. The various channels threw out a lot of material but didn’t manage to make the mix excel on a consistent basis. Perhaps I was too hard on it, but I felt that a movie with this much potential for involving, anarchic audio needed to pound us more heavily than it did.
At least the audio quality was strong. Speech sounded concise and crisp, and no problems with edginess or intelligibility occurred. Music demonstrated nice range and definition. The score was bright and bold, and the various songs came across in a similar manner. Effects seemed detailed and impressive. Bass response was tight and all elements fared well. I almost gave this mix an “A-“, but for the reasons I mentioned, I thought it most deserved a “B+”. It’s a good track, but not a great one.
Despite the movie’s low profile at the box office, Son of the Mask presents a decent roster of supplements. We open with an audio commentary from director Larry Guterman, actor Jamie Kennedy, and writer Lance Khazei. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They chat about subjects like shooting in Australia, casting babies and issues related to working with kids and animals, improvisation, how the three came onto the project and challenges connected to making a sequel, visual effects, sets, story issues, editing and cut scenes, and various production notes and anecdotes.
A high-energy track, the three men interact well and make this a lively piece. They get into a lot of useful topics and convey a great deal of information about the movie’s creation. Plenty of funny moments show up as well, such as when Kennedy does his impression of the dog trainer. Inevitably, the usual happy talk shows up, and some defensiveness along with it; Kennedy makes sure he answers the flick’s critics who lumped it in with efforts like Baby Geniuses. Although I’m one of those folks, I still really like this track, as it offers an entertaining look at the production.
A whopping 19 deleted/alternate scenes run between 15 seconds and four minutes, 38 seconds for a total of 32 minutes and four seconds of footage. Most of these come across as filler. We learn more about Tim’s professional struggles, Jorge’s issues, and various baby-related sequences. We also see a longer dance number and a montage of clips created as a promo reel. There’s nothing good in the movie, so why would we expect gold from the removed segments? The deleted clips are pretty weak.
We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from director Guterman. He offers the usual array of remarks, as he tells us a little about the segments and also usually lets us know why he cut the pieces.
Next comes a featurette called Paw Prints and Baby Steps: On the Set of Son of the Mask. This 15-minute and 59-second piece offers the standard array of movie clips, behind the scenes footage, and interviews. We find remarks from Guterman, Kennedy, baby casting Jane Dawkins, baby parents Michelle and Billy Falconer, executive producer Beau Marks, producer Erica Huggins, visual effects producer Susan MacLeod, dog trainer Steve Berens, New Line co-chairman and co-CEO Bob Shaye, and actors Traylor Howard and Alan Cumming.
The show explores the casting of the babies and how they work on the set, choosing a dog and the ways the pooch operates during the shoot, and the times that both baby and dog acted at the same time. “Steps” rips through the various subjects pretty rapidly, but it gives us enough detail to make it worthwhile. The excellent footage from the set helps expand the topics and illustrates baby and dog-related challenges nicely.
A second featurette appears after this. Creating Son of the Mask: Digital Diapers and Dog Bytes fills 15 minutes and two seconds. It includes remarks from Guterman, Marks, MacLeod, Huggins, Kennedy, Cumming, visual effects producer Ned Gorman, ILM visual effects supervisors Jamie Price and Ed Hirsch, animation director Tom Bertino, ILM CG supervisor Robert Marinic, ILM art director Jules Mann, Tippett Studios visual effects supervisor Thomas Schelesny, and Tippett Studios lead animator Dovi Anderson.
As one might expect, this program covers the movies visual effects. We learn about the creation of the digital baby, cartoon influences, and the various transformations required due to the Mask and other causes, and additional challenges. Just like its predecessor, this show benefits from all the good background footage. The test shots are especially valuable, but we get plenty of other cool images as well. This turns into another informative and entertaining piece.
For the final featurette, we get Chow Bella - Hollywood’s Pampered Pooches. It goes for 15 minutes and 27 seconds and presents remarks from dog owners Marilyn Millen, Brandon Belzer, Anthony Marquez, David de Wind, andy and Christina Mata, Tomoko Watanabe Raquel Leon, Sue Chipperton, Lina Chmiel, Juan-Carlos Cruz and Eileen Ikuta, Kennel Club president Sharon Graner, LA Dogworks owner Andrew Rosenthal, LA Dogworks salon director Brenda Howard, LA Dogworks canine massage therapist Emelio Burkhamer, Kennel Club’s John Reed, veterinarian Dr. Henry Pasternak, Three Dog Bakery owner Mark Bodnar, Fifi and Romeo VP Owen Swaby, Fifi and Romeo owner/designer Yana Syrkin and actor Tori Spelling.
A program with no connection to Son of the Mask, “Bella” instead focuses on all the ways people in LA pamper their pets. We see spas, bakeries, clothing stores and other elaborate spots. I love my dogs as much as anyone, but some of these folks scare me, especially the woman who keeps an hour-to-hour diary of her dog’s activities.
Galleries and Storyboard Sequences splits into a variety of sections. “Galleries” breaks down into three smaller domains. “Cool Car Design Concepts” runs 58 seconds as we see different sketch ideas for the Mask’s car. “Concept Art to Film Comparison” gives us glimpses of 11 different shots. First we see the initial drawing and then we look at a still from the completed sequence. Lastly, “Sketch and Storyboard Progressions” runs through the director’s thumbnail drawings for scenes, the story artist’s rendering of those images, and the final shot from the flick. These cover 17 sequences.
Two elements pop up under the “Storyboard Sequences” banner. “Storyboard to Film Comparison” runs two minutes, 49 seconds. It uses the standard splitscreen format with art on the bottom and movie on the top to contrast images for the scene in which the dog goes after the baby. “Unused Car Chase Storyboard Reel” lasts 103 seconds as it gives us a silent glimpse of an unfilmed sequence. All of these pieces provide a decent look at the artistic elements behind the film.
In addition to the trailer for Son of the Mask, a few ads appear in “Sneak Peeks”. This includes promos for Hot Wheels Acceleracers: Ignition, Racing Stripes, What’s New, Scooby-Doo? and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
For years, fans of The Mask hoped for a sequel. Son of the Mask wasn’t what they wanted. An unfunny, idiotic and pointless collection of insipid gags, it offers absolutely nothing of value. The DVD offers pretty positive picture and audio. It also includes a good roster of extras. Too bad the movie itself is such a complete waste of time.