Casper is a nice little film which I enjoyed when it was originally released, despite only having a fleeting knowledge of the title character, from a scattered bunch of televised shorts. Time has moved on since then and how, after watching quite a few of the spectra’s original shorts and knowing a lot more about him. I can say that this reinvention of Casper is a stronger product than the original, and one that also pays homage to the ghost’s past.
Because he is not, you could say, top tier and therefore not as well known (as opposed to the Looney Tunes). Casper doesn’t suffer so much from the preconceptions that his more famous contemporaries have. It also possibly helps that the executive producer is Steven Spielberg and the head writer of the story is Sherri ‘Slappy Squirrel’ Stoner.
The Ghostly Trio provide much of the real humour of the film, them and their interaction will Bill Pullman’s character marking some of the funniest parts of the movie. Eric Idle too provides some memorable moments as Carrigan’s dimwit lawyer, yet it never feels as if he’s being used to his full effect; mind you he is an ex-python. Yet the heart of the movie is with Casper and Kat developing friendship, which provides the strength the film needs to succeed and it is pull off with a believability that is a rarity with part live-action.
It’s impossible for a film about ghosts to get away from the subject of death and what happens afterward, but here it is dealt with in a way that is logical to the world presented. All the main characters in the film have been touch by the subject in one way or another: from Carrigan getting the manor in a will and the Harvey’s lost and consequential quest to find wife and mother. Casper has a double lost: not only his life but also his identity, which is in some ways the greatest lost of all; whether a ghost or not.
Athena below points out the one real problem in the whole film; just how old is Casper suppose to be? Or rather how old was he when he died seeing as ghosts’ tend to live at that age perpetually (in this film). At times he acts like a young kid, yes seven or eight years old sounds about right and also ties in with his theatrical character. Yet this age does go against some of the perceived feelings he has for Kat; through most of the film you could say this was some kind of puppy love.
Of course near the end of the movie, Casper age is given as a twelve-year-old, which, to be honest, doesn’t gel with his actions through most of the movie, or his general appearance.
Yet in some ways, compared to his theatrical persona, Casper has grown up.