Halloween-O-Meter: Casper (1995)
Released in May, 1995, Casper follows a therapist and his daughter who are tasked with residing in a old mansion while the father attempts to help four ghosts living there to move on. However his daughter begins to form a friendship with a friendly ghost named Casper. And also there are two evil people trying to steal treasure from inside the house. And the father wants to connect with his dead wife. And the daughter- you know what, there’s alot going on in this kids movie. Anyway despite mixed reviews, Casper went on to double its budget at the US box office (which isn’t a huge success), and almost double the US box office worldwide (which is a pretty big success.)
I for one literally just watched Casper for the first time. Now I don’t know if its one of those films I’ve seen but just don’t remember, but if I did forget- well I can kinda see why… But look, it’s a mostly harmless kids movie with some occasional great effects that would probably be a fun watch for families. So take that in mind when if I get too deep here…
If you haven’t guessed, I didn’t really care for the movie. For one, there’s too many things happening. The cheesy evil villain and her sidekick feel incredibly forced when that focus could be placed more on the high school drama Kat could have. I mean she’s an only child with a dead mother and a ghost whisperer father living in a haunted mansion. That could be a pretty setup for dealing with being a social outcast. Instead we get a little bit of drama, and the rest of the time is given to whimsical antics with gadgets and things that don’t make sense. Why? Because 90s kids movie!
I’m not sure how I feel about the Casper (the ghost not the movie) subplot either. I get that it’s probably important, but the resolution for this not only takes point by the end, but feels sudden and forced. This is something else they could have simply put more time into. Okay time allotment is 75% of this movie’s problems as it turns out… Speaking of which, the finale is- silly. Illogically silly. I don’t know, it throws in a few things that make me ask more questions than I had before. And you guessed it, this could be fixed with some build-up.
As much as he doesn’t want to be there, Bill Pullman is pretty entertaining to watch. Christina Ricci- geez I feel like we’ve reviewed three Christina Ricci films this Halloween. Anyway she’s fine, and the voice cast is fine. I hated the villains, but I am sure that’s more on the kid-friendly direction. James Horner’s score was a highlight! As were the effects that still kinda hold up! There’s a few that aren’t great, but I’m legitimately surprised this film didn’t receive an Oscar nomination. Also there’s a few cameos that had me laughing pretty hard early on! (Granted I didn’t laugh any after that…)
Look I’m not going to tear this film to shreds of anything, I just didn’t care for it. The humor wasn’t my thing, and it’s not really Bill Pullman’s as it turns out. I lied some of what the film had to offer, but it was too bogged down in subplot trying to match other popular family films of the 90s to be its own movie. Casper could be at least really good if not great, but instead it’s kinda meh. I probably wouldn’t watch it again. 5/10.
All that said, Casper is a solid pick for a family-friendly Halloween movie! Got young kids but not too young because there is swearing and death in this PG movie? Well look no further! We’ve got well known actors, we’ve got ghosts, we’ve got movie jokes and cameos, we’ve got a haunted mansion and spooky but fun music! Casper is totally an iconic Halloween character too! So despite my review, Casper would be a solid pick for families who haven’t seen it. (Or for those that have and like it! It seems like one of those films that people can like anyway.) 4 out of 5 Scary Pumpkins!
-So Casper? Have you seen it? What do you think? And what is your favorite family friendly Halloween movie? I’m probably going to say Clue (1985) for mine! Anyway be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and want to read more like it, we have only a few more days for the Halloween-O-Meter if you want to get your suggestion in!
-review by Ryan Prince