Casper (1995) Poster

(1995)

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7/10
desperateliving11 November 2004
There's something enormously touching about this film and the way it deals with losses -- Pullman's wife and Casper's mother, in particular. And what's so clever about it is how it uses them as a tool of audience manipulation AND has the evil ghosts use Pullman in exactly the same way that we're being used. This is a smartly written screenplay. The story itself is pretty conventional and predictable: the loner girl gets teased by a popular girl (that nobody really likes) who's out to destroy her; the popular girl has a cute boyfriend that the loner girl has the hots for, etc. etc., story will resolve itself with everyone falling in love with loner girl.

I can't quite understand why this movie has such a low rating. The only explanation I can think of is that people prefer emotionally "safe" movies like "Toy Story" (of the same year) that are equally brilliant technically (and have as many references), but don't sacrifice coolness by showing sentimental, sad emotion. It's possible that the movie got marketed incorrectly. The film isn't about spooks; like one of those early, wonderful Tim Burton fantasies (this film also shares with them an outstanding score), the film deals -- quite movingly, I think -- with regaining that lost sense of childhood: that moment where Casper tries to remember being alive is just wrenching. And the scene relates just as profoundly to us: just as he can't remember being alive, we can't, really, remember being kids. I was ten when I first saw this, and it had an effect on me then (Ricci's description of sunny side-up eggs making her gag subconsciously made me avoid anything less than hard boiled for ten years); this is something that I really cherish as being part of my young emotional and visual education, and it stands up today.

I haven't seen the director's other films, so I have no idea whether this whole thing was a fluke or whether everything just settled in to my particular sensibility, but even outside of the emotion I think the technical aspects, the giant basement set, are enough to keep interest. And even outside of that, the acting is terrific. Cathy Moriarty is an absolute riot. 7/10
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8/10
An all-time family favorite that's very touching!
jdkraus20 October 2004
Ever since i was six years of age, I've enjoyed this movie. It makes me laugh, cry, and excited! i am disappointed that so many people don't like this movie. it is an all-time favorite of mine. It is sad yes, but it has comic relief from the three uncles that try to be humanlike, Casper, the friendly ghost that knows what it is like to be lonely, for instance me, and same with Kat. I am very touched with this film, for it makes me think about me, lonely and depressed, but it has a positive ending which I really adored! i also liked the amazing effects, that were famous at its, time. Of course now, effects from movies are like The Matrix films and LOTR, but i mainly like this film, because it tocuhes my heart in a both sad and sometimes happy, knowing, someone else is out there for you, even if you are a bit...dead. 10/10
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9/10
For adults too!
Boyo-21 November 1999
Being 'middle-aged', I suppose I was not the target audience for this movie, but I love it very much anyway. Kiddies aside, this movie is hysterical, well-acted, and touching too. The effects are great and, to be honest, I can't find a lot to critcize here, which for me is all I can ask of a movie.
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7/10
Since when did Casper become romantic?
Smells_Like_Cheese29 November 2003
Casper, the friendly ghost, is now in computer form! :D I have to admit, when I became a teenager, I doubted this movie just to be kinda cool and not enjoy a kid's movie. But I babysit often, and my cousins wanted to watch this again, so I slipped it in. You know what? I enjoyed it and I think I'm willing to admit that I liked it.

I love this family movie because it has not only kid humor, but adult humor as well. Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman were great and it was fun to watch their first time reactions moving into the house with the evil uncles that are "disgusting and obnoxious creeps". I love their response to that "Thank you!". Casper is just a polite ghost who wants to have friends and be human again. When he discovers that his father invented a machine to make ghosts humans again, he and Christina find the only potion left that's enough for him to become human. Of course, we have our villains who want a "hidden treasure" in the mansion and set up Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci in the house to get to it. They figure the best way is to have one of them die and be able to just go through the safe. Of course, they must come back human and the only way is the potion that's enough for one person. We have another problem of the uncle's taking Bill on a drinking trip to make him one of their own to "see" his deceased wife.

There is a very touching ending and I would always recommend this for a family watch. It's a cute movie with some fun jokes and cool effects. So, I am actually going to admit that I had fun and am going to give a good rating.

7/10
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8/10
A winner of a family film- Casper is so cute!
TheLittleSongbird15 November 2009
I really liked this movie, I seriously don't get the low rating. It is a most enjoyable family film, that is really sweet. My only complaints are one or two dull spots in the script and plot(primarily in the middle) and I didn't feel as though the direction was as good as it could have been. The special effects however are simply wonderful, and the sets are suitably dark and Gothic. But what made this movie for me was Casper, forgive me but he is so cute. The whole movie is well worth seeing just for him, but there are many other good things about this film too. The dance sequence especially is delightful.

The music by the ever reliable James Horner is lovely, and the performances are very good. Christina Ricci matches Casper beautifully in a delightfully sweet central performance, and while Bill Pullman has been better he gives an appealing performance. Eric Idle is hilarious when he is given good material, and on the whole that's what he had. Although his dialogue wasn't always as funny as it could have been, he was still entertaining. But it is Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso who provide the most laughs. It is Cathy Moriaty though who comes close to stealing the show, with a brilliantly wacky portrayal as the villain of the piece. The script is funny and touching on the most part despite the one or two dull spots in the middling half.

Overall, a winning family film. Not perfect by all means, but underrated you bet it is. At the end of the day, it's Casper's picture. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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6/10
Fun, silly ghost flick with Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci and Cathy Moriarty
Wuchakk12 October 2018
A ghost-whispering paranormal expert and his daughter (Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci) move into a dilapidated mansion on the coast of Maine that's haunted by a friendly ghost and three mischievous ones. Cathy Moriarty plays the venal heir of the mansion and Eric Idle her assistant.

"Casper" (1995) delivers the goods if you're in the mood for a "spooktacular" Goosebumps-like horror film that's fun & silly and not scary at all. It's like Scooby-Doo but without the dog and the teens are tweens. "Monster Night" (2006) and "Ghostbusters" (1984) are other reference points, but I prefer "Monster Night," which has a similar plot, but is all-around more entertaining (even though it cost significantly less) and has a superior assortment of good-lookin' women, young and older. With "Caspar" there's Moriarty, but she plays the biyatch antagonist. There's also ricci, but she was only 14 during shooting, although she's effective in the role.

The movie runs 1 hour, 40 minutes and was shot at Universals City, California, with establishing shots of Rockport, Maine.

GRADE: B-/C+
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charming, in profound sense
Kirpianuscus6 June 2022
I saw it first for Christina Ricci and, I admitt, I was seduced by her work.

I saw it as a beautiful and, for many reasons, useful film about friendship.

And the scene of dance of Casper and Kat remains the basic good point , with fairy tale sparkles.

A film for entire family, preserving a sort of very fair ingenuity, reminding small truths and defining , in smart manner, the lost of loved other.

Sure, a naif comedy.

But charming in profound sense, not less for gentle remind of the real needs of every from us.
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8/10
A Cute Film
Rainey-Dawn13 October 2014
I found Casper to be quite entertaining. It's a great film for the entire family and a good one to watch around Halloween. The story is quite sad yet very funny and the special effects are superb. To summon up this film, I would say "young love at it's finest".

This movie brings to my mind thoughts of "if I could talk to a loved one who is dead" and/or "if I could meet someone that is dead". The curiosity of meeting someone from another time period even if they are dead (a ghost) came to my mind while watching this film. Thoughts of talking to dead family members also weighed on my mind as the film progressed.

8/10
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10/10
Great Movie With Various Perspectives
snowravyn14 June 2002
After reading the comments, I see most people enjoy this movie with a few picking it over nothing (e.g. not an accurate portrait of ghost?). I first saw the movie in my preteen. It was a fun & 'cute' movie, highly entertaining with the trio & treasure hunting & stuff.

As I grew older & revisit this movie, I see more 'layers' of the movie other than a 'kiddie ghost story'. Dr. Harvey (Bill Pullman, excellent as usual) is having a hard time dealing with the death of his wife, & Kat (Ricci, a great break from the cool-headed Wednesday Adams) is having a hard time adjusting her father's constant move as well as grieving her mother on her own. Then, there is Casper grieving his own death as well as his father's death. And then there is Carrigan's mourning her father... not leaving her all the riches. Then there is Casper's heroic act (go see the movie, it's one of the most touching moment), Dr. Harvey's reunion, etc. etc.

From a child's point of view, it's pure entertainment. From an art lover's point of view, you have to awe at the special effect & sets. From an audience seeking emotional outlet, well, bring in an extra box of kleenex. It's a very touching, warm-hearted, humorous, sweet little movie about a friendly ghost named Casper.

Just a side note, it is quite interesting to watch Addams' Family & Casper & Sleepy Hollow & see Christina Ricci grow from the eccentric Wednesday Addams to a regular teenager Kat Harvey to a beautiful young lady Katrina Van Tessel.
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7/10
Perfect family entertainment
slightlymad2227 September 2014
I'll admit right from the off I'd never heard of 'Casper The Friendly Ghost' until 1993 when I went to my local multiplex to see the Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood movie 'A Perfect World' in which a child steals a Halloween costume. So I didn't know much going into this movie. I believe this is the first feature film with a computer-animated title character, and for me the effects are outstanding.

Eric Idle and Cathy Moriarity are splendidly devious, if under used, whilst fresh from pairing with Sandra bullock in 'While You Were Sleeping' Bill Pullman is a lot of fun as the Dad.

As for Christina Ricci, following on from her awesome performances in the Addams Family movies, it was around this time I thought, she had the potential to be a good Demi Moore type actress, once she grew up. Things haven't quite panned out that way, but she is still a working actress. Coincidently she would costar with Moore in 'Now & Then' the same year, but she was not playing a younger Moore, as I expected, but a younger version of Rosie O Donnell. Poor casting in my eyes.

There are some nice cameos from Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson Rodney Dangerfield, but it's the appearance of Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Raymond Stantz (from Ghostbusters (1984)) who runs out of the house frantically and says, "Who you gonna call? Someone else!" That brought the biggest smile to my face.
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10/10
A Great Film
dockerykelli28 June 2019
Casper is such a wonderful film. Beautifully shot, an overall great cast and storyline. It has laughter, dark humor, heartache and love mixed in.
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Seeing it is BOOlieving it!
Leanne Littrell10 April 2002
Who says there are no such things as ghosts? Not if there is the ghostly inhabitants of Whipstaff Manor in Friendship, Maine! This desolate mansion is then, in the words of one of the members of the Ghostly Trio of Whipstaff, 'intruded' by Kat Harvey (Christina Ricci) and her eccentric father Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), a ghost therapist. Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) had hired Dr. Harvey to exorcise the ghosts, including Casper the friendly ghost and his three obnoxious uncles, Stretch, Fatso and Stinkie, aspiring to gain Whipstaff's 'buried gold'.

Intertwining humour, all-time fun and a modern Cinderella story, 'Casper' promises to please as a movie which is compelling, hilarious, captivating, heart-warming, witty and above all, truly 'fleshtastic'.

'Casper' is recommended for any audience, regardless of age. At the time I am submitting this review I am currently 17, turning 18, but 'Casper' still manages to appear endearing and ultimately special. The magic of Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci as well as that of director Brad Silberling, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and other producers weaves between each and every scene to eventually lift us off our feet. Above all, I LOVE THIS MOVIE! Casper is my all time favourite character. Truly fantastic. You won't BOOlieve it until you see it.
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10/10
CASPER Great ...
dweilermg-125 December 2017
This 1995 CASPER movie gave the character a depth that the cartoons and comic books of my childhood never had making it indeed a most enjoyable family film. The production crew of CASPER should indeed be in charge of the upcoming Captain Marvel/Shazam movie as they'd probably do it as a great tribute to the classic comic book character and not a high tech overly-dramatic misinterpretation of the classic Captain Marvel.
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often beautiful, often creepy, mostly wonderful, but . . .
imbatman-21 November 2000
I don't view films as if I'm watching them as the intended audience; I watch them for myself. And that's why I found it odd at how engrossed I was when I watched this film for the first time at the age of eighteen. Aside from the great gothic flair of the mansion, two superbly placed cameos, and nice laughable black humour from the "trio," the film took off because of its emotional core. It's something that a youngster can really get into, but also anyone who finds it sad that a child can die. When Casper plays with his toys, I just wanted to start crying. This eternal child--lost and stuck in an age of mystery and wonder. And yet, he's smitten with a girl--he's starting to go through puberty. And it's just so sad . . . and beautiful.

And then there's the father, and his sway into the afterlife, his daughter's plight, her struggle with her wish to help Casper. It's all so simple and written for kids, but I was so engrossed by the romanticism of it all.

The villains mostly butt into the greatness of all of it, but you just have to grant that in a kid's picture. And now comes my but . . . in the end, when the mother does appear, she's supposed to be this amazing, angelic, deux es machinal, she floats through the stain glass window, her long hair flows around her, her gown flows all around her but--what the hell! why is her dress such a deep red!? she looks like satan! Oh well. Bad costume choice made a really bad moment. But mostly, I loved this film for it's good parts, despite the childishness of much of it.
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6/10
mostly a harmless kids movie
SnoopyStyle12 May 2015
Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) is angry that her father left her only a rundown mansion. Her sniveling lawyer Paul Plutzker (Eric Idle) finds out that it has buried pirate gold. The house is haunted by Casper the friendly ghost and his not-so-friendly uncles; Stretch, Fatso and Stinkie. Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) became a therapist to the dead after the heartbreaking death of his wife and brings his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) to every job. Carrigan hires Harvey to get the pesky ghosts out of the way.

This is mostly a harmless kids movie. Ricci is adorable and sharp. She's the star of the movie. Bill Pullman is OK as the father. He could be more of a bumbling nerd. Moriarty is always good as a broad villain. Casper is not that bad and retains his cartoon nature. He has a great childlike persona. Although I would like the ghosts to be less transparent. The story is fine until the father dies. That's where the movie loses me a little. It's a bit too dark and serious dealing with life and death.
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Set Piece
tedg25 May 2000
Forget the story. Forget the characters; forget even the kids and rent this just to be able to see Whipstaff Manor.

For me a film can be rewarding if just one element (in practical terms, it has to be an element I can recognize) is best in class. Here, it is the absolutely engaging set.

At the end of the 19th century, a style of art, essentially a fad, swept over Europe: Art Nouveau. This focused on natural forms and continuous lines. Done well in drawing and sculpture, its quite charming. At the same time, there was a crisis in architecture as the first real architects sought solutions to how internal space affects the psyche. For only a decade or so, architects tried to employ art nouveau in their work.

The problem is that the two just don't naturally mix: it's as if someone tried to do a swimmingpool production of Hamlet. But two geniuses partly succeeded in a few experiments: Horta in Brussels and Gaudi in Barcelona. In their lives their experiments were rejected by the public and critics. Today, they are among only a few valued gems of modern architectural history we have.

So much for background. What we have in Whipstaff Manor is a reworking of Gaudi, with some elements of Horta in entry and staircase. This is notable for a couple reasons:

---The primary mission of a film is to convey a tone, ideally an unfamiliar one. Sometimes cinematography is the tool of reliance, sometimes costumes, sometimes surreal plot twists, rarely acting posture. Rarely, rarely is the set the star. The goal of Gaudi was to (in a very literal sense) raise spirits by the form of the space. See how you feel in the bedroom/corridor and `livingroom' spaces. The attic was done by a lesser talent and the cellar isn't part of this discussion. But the main house draws on some deeply spooky center of the mind.

---The second notable comment is the sheer difficulty of what the set designers have done. Gaudi, an absolute master, had difficulty pulling off what he did. Here, the Casperites had an even greater challenge: when I go in a space, the relationship between me and the space is intimate; just a simple dialog. But when the space is presented through a medium, the designers have to dramatically exaggerate elements so the combined effect appears `normal.' Its the same as with what actors must do as compared to ordinary people you encounter; but an environment is more complex, more multidimensional, less semiotically loaded than a person. Mastering this greater palette of form is remarkable, and that's before you even accommodate the physical needs of production (camera placement, sound wiring...)

Check this out; it's interesting. Just based on the set, I place this in my best films list.
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7/10
Maybe there will always be the issue of life and death.
lee_eisenberg29 March 2006
On one level, maybe "Casper" is just a kids' movie. But it does bring up the question of how we deal with our own mortality. The plot involves unctuous Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) and her crony Dibbs (Eric Idle) inheriting an abandoned mansion in Maine, only to find out that it's inhabited by people-hating ghosts. After a few failed attempts to get rid of these spirits, they hire Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), who claims that he can communicate with the dead. When he and his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) move in, they have a few unpleasant encounters with the ghosts, but settle down. Thus arises the issue of how to cohabit with specters and also please Crittenden.

Overall, maybe there's nothing totally special about this movie; at face value, it seems to be all about quantity and not quality. But it does have some neat lines, and prompts us to consider what will become of ourselves post mortem.
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8/10
Wonderful, Magical Children's Movie
tabuno8 January 2019
11 November 2017. Yes, Casper could be considered a dumb movie, and yet there is something that tickles the magical and entertainment portion of one's brain. Casper, based on the cartoon, is supposed to be comical, hilarious, and juvenile. What the movie accomplishes even more so is to bring another level of emotional sensitivity and reflective sadness and depth, and redemption to what was considered a pretty childish comic series.

Somehow all the dumb prankster jokes seem to work in this movie. There is a tenderness underlying the movie along with a fascinating family theme that even includes death and the afterlife. It is both heartbreaking as well as morally uplifting. It's a wonder that today's kids can even begin to comprehend the world of real death and ethical decisions that they may be exposed to now without such mass entertainment of which Casper was one.

(May 9, 2019. James Horner's haunting musical score blends brilliantly with several important movie scenes that brings to a life and emotional intensity that rivals any musical production in most any film.}.

In sum, Casper is an educational, moral, entertaining contribution to the film industry.
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6/10
The Friendliest Ghost You Know, Plus Christina Ricci
gavin694219 February 2008
A greedy woman inherits a mansion ("Whipstaff") from her uncle, only to find it haunted with obnoxious ghosts. She, along with her attorney (Eric Idle), hire Father Guido Sarducci and the Ghostbusters to solve the problem. No dice. Next, they turn to Dr. Harvey (Bill Pullman), a psychiatrist for the "living impaired" who moves into Whipstaff with his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci). As Harvey confronts the ghosts, Kat forms a friendship with the one friendly spirit in the house: Casper.

This film is great for a number of reasons. First, the computer effects. While I am no fan of CGI, this film really pushes the boundaries for 1995 (actually looking better than many films ten years later). Next, the cast. Many notable names here and a horde of cameos (Rodney Dangerfield, Clint Eastwood and more). All of which are wonderful actors (although Cathy Moriarty, who plays the greedy woman, has been called a "poor woman's Cruella deVille" and I think this is fair -- she is the weak point of the cast). And the pop culture jokes seal the deal, with even "Apocalypse Now" getting lampooned.

I am left to wonder if this film was not inspired, at least in part, by William Castle's 1960 film "13 Ghosts". There, too, we have an eccentric uncle who has invented ghost-related inventions leaving his property to his sibling's child. Both films have a hidden treasure in the mansion, sought after by a greedy attorney. And both have the family encountering obnoxious but relatively harmless ghosts. Although, it could simply be that many films have such ideas (haunted mansions with hidden treasure) and I am just making loose connections in my mind.

My friend Chelsea, who adores this film and whom I watched it with, has an infatuation with the James Horner soundtrack. It does not stand out for me and I do not think it is Horner's best work. But it is not bad, either... blending neatly into the background (which, it may be said, might make it even better... not overpowering the movie).

This film is fun for all ages. It is a kids film, but has some adult content, too. And it is one of two of the notable Christina Ricci roles as a child (the other bring Wednesday Addams), so if you share a love of Ricci with me you will need to see this film. But all in all, the reason to see this is because it is cute and endearing... brilliant in its innocence, even when it touches those adult themes (such as the death of a child). If Amblin Entertainment brought us one good film since "E.T.", this is it.
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10/10
so beautiful
owlsilverfeather14 April 2002
I've owned this movie for 7 years now, but I was having a "kid" moment last night and after I watched SNL I put this on. Wow, it all came back to me how much I loved this movie.

Casper himself is played as a lot little boy, very real and unsure of himself at the age of 12. He falls in love with Kat in such an innocent way that it's touching. And when he says as she falls asleep, "Can I keep you?" I start to cry. His speech about his death would make a great short acting monolouge.

Kat is a smartass and highly intelligent, showing Christina Ricci as the funny, witty, and all-around cool actress she is. Her portrayal of Kat is reminisent of a similar movie that came earlier...Winona Rider as Lydia in "Beetlejuice" without the fascination with death.

Of course, Bill Pullman is great in whatever he does, but here you just wanna wrap the poor guy up in a hug. And his dynamic with the FANTASTIC Ghostly Trio pretty much makes most of the movie sparkle.

What could've been a sappy ending is done with such magic. A 17-year-old Devon Sawa in one of his first roles walks down the stairs and extends his hand to Kat with such perfect love and tenderness. And I cheer when the FINALLY kiss. He looks like such an angel.

All around, a great movie. Funny, romantic, the perfect blend of sappyness and sentimentality that MAKES for a tear-jerker ending. Great job!
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7/10
Best children's Halloween movie
oscardomingueziiiod21 March 2020
One of many children Halloween movies . I'll recommend a ghostly comedy. Especially about a friendly ghost named CASPER and his three ghosts brothers Fatso, Stretch, Stinkie. This funniest laughter ghosts that knock your socks off. Also is a family movie night . The leading roles is well acted. Christina Ricci as her character Kate and Bill Pullman character Dr. James Harvey perfect actors. Well done.
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6/10
6/10
stormhawk202120 June 2017
Brad Silberling has done a lot of directing for various TV episodes and such, but he does also direct movies. In this case, he brings the story of Casper to life in an impressive way. This is one fun film from start to finish.

There isn't much to the story, especially in the first half, but this is where it is the most fun. The nicely thought out dialogue and the funny antics of the ghostly trio, Stretch, Stinkie, and Fatso, all keep this picture highly entertaining. The second half of this 100 minute film slows down just a bit to get more story going. At this point the ghostly trio are a little less involved and Casper takes the stage.

The CG is outstanding. I know the ghosts look all cartoony, but this is a childish film. Anyhow, they look great. The voice acting is also spot on. Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey, and Brad Garrett match wonderfully to their ghost characters. Malachi Pearson is also a solid Casper.

All the actors for the human characters are magnificently cast as well. Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman portray a nice father daughter relationship. Cathy Moriarty matches as the evil Carrigan Crittenden and who better than Eric Idle to play her goofy comedic sidekick. There are also a ton of enjoyable cameos in this movie, including Dan Aykroyd as the Ghostbuster Raymond Stantz.

Casper is truly one fun family film, except for a couple occasions where the "B" word comes out of somebody's mouth. Watch this if the opportunity arises.
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7/10
A superior family movie
CabbageCustard12 October 2019
It has been many years since I first saw Casper and I didn't really remember much about it when it popped up unexpectedly on Amazon Prime. I thought I'd give it another try, and I am glad I did. This is a superior family film and has that rare quality that too many films that claim to be family films lack: it appeals to both kids and adults. One word of caution to parents: this movie does contain supernatural themes (as you would expect) and does deal with death too. I know that won't worry a lot of people and I am one of them, but I make the point for those parents who may find this a concern. You have been warned.

That being said, this movie is a lot of fun. Kids will love the antics of Casper and his comical cohorts, The Ghostly Trio. Adults will love the cameos in the early part of the movie, especially a deliciously clever one by Dan Ackroyd. They will also appreciate the fact that this movie is faithful to the characters they may have grown up with and remember fondly. The special effects are good, the script is intelligent and the movie boasts a cast of excellent actors who are obviously enjoying themselves, including Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman in central roles, Cathy Moriarty and Eric Idle who are terrific as the villains of the piece, and a capable group of voice actors for Casper and The Ghostly Trio, including Brad Garrett of 'Everybody Loves Raymond' fame. The only criticism I would make of this movie, if I was to make any, is that there are a lot of subplots involved and not all of them are fully resolved, but that's only a minor beef. The movie is really so much fun you probably only notice this on subsequent viewings. The kids won't notice it at all. Yes, this is definitely a very good movie and I'm happy to recommend it for young and old.
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6/10
Better than what you'd think, but is dragged down by unfocused screenplay
IonicBreezeMachine16 July 2020
The 1995 film Casper came in the wake of a number of high profile films based on older properties. Some, like The Addams Family, Maverick, and Flintstones managed to achieve impressive box office and/or critical praise while others such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Car 54, Where Are You?, or Richie Rich were met with derision and scorn from critics and audiences. Casper falls somewhere towards to the upper end of the spectrum making it better than Flintstones by a considerable margin, but not nearly as funny or memorable as The Addams Family. Casper, based on the Harvey Comics character turned star of Famous Studios' series of theatrical shorts, follows the titular friendly ghost as he deals with the schemes of heiress Carrigan Crittenden(played delightfully over the top by Cathy Moriarty), his brash abrasive uncles The Ghostly Trio, a grieving paranormal psychologist and his outsider daughter, and a whole host of shenanigans from either the living or the dead. Needless to say there's elements I'm leaving out because they're either resolved to quickly to be of merit or contribute nothing to the movie.

First the good. The performances are energized and give this movie the life it needs to justify itself. Regardless of the quality of the material, everyone here is bringing their A game be it Eric Idle as the put upon yes man, Bill Pullman as the quirky paranormal psychologist, Christina Ricci as the outsider daughter, and even Devon Sawa as Casper. Helping the performances is the amazing production design which helps create an incredible looking haunted house that feels almost like Disney's Haunted Mansion ride with more polish(though sometimes the film does feel a bit too much like a theme park ride in certain segments). The effects to create the ghosts are also quite impressive for the time, as they're designed very similarly to Jim Carrey's effects from The Mask with cartoonish exaggerations and elasticity that make them feel dynamic and alive(no pun intended).

The Negatives. The script has problems finding pacing and direction. There's no one single story pulling the characters from scene to scene, the instigating plot involving Carrigan looking for a secret Treasure takes up the first 10 minutes of the movie and then is brought back for maybe 12 minutes towards the end of the movie. Scenes just kind of go from one to the next as there's really no callback style jokes or running gags linking the comic set pieces together, nor are there really character building scenes as they feel like islands without much thought to placement in a larger narrative.

The movie is written by Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver, better known for their work on shows like Animaniacs and Tiny Toons Adventures and there's definitely a lot of their comic style on display with the Ghostly Trio who spout pop culture references and insults(with a surprising amount of hells and damns thrown in but that's honestly not much of a concern for me), but much of their comic scenes feel at odds with other scens that try to seriously address the nature of death and grief(including a very well staged scene where Casper looks over his sled remembering how he died) and the tone will whiplash from Snarky, to Zany, to serious sometimes within only a few seconds.

Casper is the kind of movie you wish were better than it is. There's clear talent on display be it the production design, the direction, the acting, and even the special effects, but it's unfortunately weighed down by a lack of focus and can feel like a scattershot imitator of Beetlejuice with its teeth filed down. It's got good moments, they just don't come together as well as they should.
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7/10
Nice change...refreshing
sunbeam-431 October 2004
After you get through the stresses of your day... your job, the hassles of daily life, all the stressers that are out there daily, it seems great to sit back and enjoy something that will take you out of that for a little while. If you watch the news and read the papers every day like I do, it gets to you after a while...the young soldiers being killed in Iraq, all the election BS that we are being bombarded with right now...all or most of the news is downright depressing. That creates an important place for a movie like this...one that can make your life a little less serious for a while. I've always been a Christina Ricci fan, going back to the Addams Family when she was only 11 years old. She was a great actress even at that young age. You could tell that she would go far as an actress. The personality was there...it set her apart from her peers. At the age of 15, she continues to do a great job in Casper...she is very believable.

Sometimes, in this troubled world where violence and negative things seem to be the norm, a nice little movie like this can go a long way toward making your day a little brighter. Some of my other "feel good" movies are Patch Adams, all the Superman movies, the Robocop series, and good old Babe. Thanks for reading this. Feel free to reply with an email.
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