Constantine, Mask Face Off

There’s a lot of digital animation arriving at theaters across North America today in the form of visual effects work for Warner Bros. supernatural thriller, Constantine, and New Line Cinema’s screwball comedy sequel, Son of the Mask. Despite the lack of Jim Carey, star of the 1994 hit, The Mask, this follow-up should initially do well with families while the star-power of Keanu Reeves drives adults, especially genre fans, to his latest mindbender.

Emancipated from his lengthy Matrix commitment, Reeves doesn’t stray too far from home as John Constantine, a mystic detective who has literally been to Hell and back. He teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister and together they investigate a world of demons and angels that exists beneath the city of Los Angeles.

Based on the DC/Vertigo Hellblazer comic book series by Kevin Brodbin, Mark Bomback and Frank Capello, Constantine was directed by popular music video helmer Francis Lawrence and features effects by the likes of Tippet Studio, CIS Hollywood, Hatch, ESC Ent., Furious FX, Hydraulx, The Farm, Pacific Title and Fantasy II Film Effects.

On the lighter side of the fantasy coin is Son of the Mask, which stars Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted, TV’s The Jamie Kennedy Experiment) as Tim Avery, an aspiring cartoonist whose life becomes a cartoon when his infant son stumbles upon the magical mask of Loki, the Norse god of mischief as played by Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams). Lawrence Guterman (Cats & Dogs) directed the animation-heavy film featuring effects work by Tippett Studio, Industrial Light & Magic, TeamWorks Digital, Digital Dimension, Illusion Arts, Toybox, Kleiser-Walczak and Giant Killer Robots.

Son of the Mask combines live-action with both motion-captured and key-framed animation that pays homage to the spirit of legendary Warner Bros. animators Tex Avery and Chuck Jones. Read all about the making of the film in the March issue of Animation Magazine, now available by subscription and at Barns & Noble booksellers.