Almost everyone knows who Casper the friendly ghost is. The child ghost that desperately wants a friend and to not be the play thing of his uncles Fatso, Stinky and Stretch. They look after him in the afterlife and love to scare anyone that might come around. Casper will do just about anything to get a friend of his own, to be able to laugh and play with someone his own age, a 12 year old that just wants to have fun. This film takes us on a journey of discovery and fun to show us all about Casper and to what lengths her will go to to get what he wants. This is a fun loving film that the whole family can enjoy. Casper is one of those films that you love when you see it but fades from your memory as time goes on. Its sad to say that with all that keeps going on in the world that all family films are that way and we just need to be reminded just how good the film was. Images and words from the films to make us remember them all over again and give us a desire to see them once again. Maybe this review will get you to go out and watch it again or even watch it for the first time.
Carrigan Crittenden is a mean and spiteful witch with a capitol “B”. Her father just died and all she can think about is what it is going to get her. Her father was loaded and instead of giving all the money to her he leaves every cent to various animal groups around the world. The only thing that she gets is Whipstaff Manor in Friendship, Main. She could care less and throws the paperwork into the fireplace not realizing that the deed is in there. Her sort of friend and we think a lawyer Paul ‘Dibbs’ Plutzker realizes they need the deed and fishes it out of the fire and sees written in invisible ink “Buccaneers and buried gold. Whipstaff doth a treasure hold.” Of course Carrigan calls Dibbs an idiot and says that she knew that the place was worth something. Yeah, right, She originally thought that it was a worthless piece of junk just moments ago. She is wishy-washy but knows how to control her Dibbs and always make it seem that it was his fault that everything was wrong of going wrong. Dibbs just follows along until too late as always and gets the same reward that she does.
James Harvey is a psychiatrist that has lost his wife and now thinks that she is a ghost somewhere and he wants to desperately find her. The reason he thinks she is a ghost is that all ghosts are bound to earth because of unfinished business. He feels that there is no way that he business is finished as he and his daughter Kat are still around and he is totally lost without his departed wife Amelia Harvey. So now he goes around the country trying to help others that feel that they are being haunted by spirits of loved ones or ghosts from some distant past. Considering how he reacts when he meets the ghostly trio I think he was doing more scamming then ghost finding and the film even hints at that. It takes a house full of ghosts and a crazy insane Carrigan to make him see the light and to learn how to live again. And why is he in Friendship, Maine? Because Casper made sure Carrigan saw a news cast of him, Casper wants Kat as a friend and is going to make sure that it happens. Carrigan is so desperate and greedy that she doesn’t even care that it seens that her TV is haunted, all she sees is a chance to get the ghosts out of her house that she thinks has a massive treasure hidden inside. Only problem is that treasure means different things to different people.
Kathleen ‘Kat’ Harvey hates being dragged around the country, going from school to school. She even points this out to her clueless dad, “In two years, I have been to nine different schools”. All she wants to do is be able to stay in one place long enough to find a friend. She is a teen without her mother and no one to talk to while her dad goes off the deep end again and again. With constant moving around she never gets the chance to form any kind of lasting relationship. James promises that this time she will and that everything is going to change for the better. Kat has a hard time believing this and practically pouts the whole trip to Maine. It takes being scared silly to get her to finally run to her father for help which of course leads to James loosing it as he tries to get him and Kat out of a for real haunted house.
Whipstaff manor is a massive cliff side house that is a construction that is mostly based on Gaudi’s architecture. It is big, bold and haunted which makes it even more ominous. With its swirling vaulted ceilings, curved hallways and teethy fish as decorations you would not really want to be there even if it wasn’t haunted. No one goes there except on dares. Most of the residents of the fishing village of Friendship just try to ignore it and ignore the screams that they hear coming from it now and then. You might say the house is the towns skeleton in a closet. It is the perfect setting for the film and give a ton of atmosphere to it. Just seeing the building can fill you with both dread and wonder. Its spooky and facinating at the same time, just like the film itself. Amblin Entertainment and ILM did a fantastic job with the visuals and directing of the film by Brad Silberling. The animation of the ghosts were perfect and gave you the feel of them from when you watched them on old cartoons with the voice acting of the ghosts being spot on as well.
This film was made at a time when directors really cared about the films that they were making. A time when the next family film would be the biggest box office hit if you did it right. They went to great pains to see that the film was true to the Casper story and we even get to find out why Casper is a ghost in the first place. This is a family film (with no blood at all, no violence of guns and such) that is fun to watch. A film that is worth seeing more then once and I am glad I found a copy of it in the bargain bin at the check out isle. It really did make my day to be able to see it again.
I give this film a Musing review of