Friday, October 29, 2010


And here we are dear readers.  The final... two?  No, I cheat.  We have here a DOUBLE TIE.  Yes a tie for the number two and the number one spots.  You my dear readers can decide for yourself which really deserves the spot.  Be sure to span on it in the comments.  No dishonorable mentions this time, just pure goodness, so let's get it on and bang a gong...


So why these two?   Because both are not only very functional, but do exactly what a mask should do and that is disguise the wearer.  Look at that Iron Man face.  It's grim, determined, compentent.  It screams out, I will do the job and do it well.  Underneath the mask?  Tony Stark/Robert Downey Jr (A case where actor and role are really waaaaayyyy too close together), who at first blush doesn't fit that red and gold image.  Tony Stark is a boozy, egotistical smart ass which is generally not one's first choice for a hero.  The odd thing is that Tony Stark is also a mask (on a metaphorical level) and if you dig down deep you will find he is actually Iron man.

Now you take Robocop.  His head gear is pure machine.  It is sleek.  It is functional and dehumanizing.  It is the cop as a machine.  But take off that funky helmet and you see this...

Holy crap, I mean he looks like a cancer survivor who had a collision with  fax machine.  There is a very hurt human being under that Judge Dreddian skull cap and that is why it is such a good mask.  When robocop is full gear it is all fun superhero hijinks.  Then off comes that cap, and suddenly it's "OMG, he must really be hurting."  It is a breath taking transformation in the film.


The thing about a mask is that they tend to be a tad on the immobile side.  It is difficult to emote with one, yet somehow these two manage to do it well.  In the case of V we have a completely immobile mask.  A grinning Guy Fawke's mask in fact a lot like the ones you can buy nearly everywhere in britain.  Somehow, though that grin changes greatly just by how the actor Hugo Weaving tilts his head.  It can change to what seems to be a geniune smile to a mocking leer.  No doubt we the audience are projecting what we feel onto that mask, but it seems to be the perfect canvas for it.

Now on the other hand Rorschach from the movie "The Watchmen."  While the movie itself is something of a mix bag, nearly everyone took notice of Rorshcach.  His mask had the ability to convey something of what the character was feeling but never in a straight forward way.  It was an ever changing black and white pattern.  Like the test he was named after, Rorschach's mask has us projecting what we the audience are feeling for that scene.  Like the Ironman/Robocop masks what lies under that mask is not what we expect.  There is a very disturbed little man under that huge symbol.  A man who's power and madness is never to be able to compromise.

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