In the 1990s it was very common for older cartoon shows from the 1970s and 1980s to be released as theatrical movies. Casper was released in 1995 and is based off of the television cartoon show. The main plot of the story revolves around a house haunted by a group of mischievous ghosts. There is one ghost, Casper, who doesn’t like to scare people and is treated as servant by the other three ghosts he is “living” with. Furious that her late father only willed her his gloomy-looking mansion rather than his millions, Carrigan Crittenden is ready to burn the place to the ground when she discovers a map to a treasure hidden in the house. But when she enters the rickety mansion to seek her claim, she is frightened away by a wicked wave of ghosts. Determined to get her hands on this hidden fortune, she hires afterlife therapist Dr. James Harvey to exorcise the ghosts from the mansion. Harvey and his daughter Kat move in, and soon Kat meets Casper, the ghost of a young boy who’s “the friendliest ghost you know.” But not so friendly are Casper’s uncles–Stretch, Fatso and Stinkie–who are determined to drive all “fleshies” away. Ultimately, it is up to Harvey and Kat to help the ghosts cross over to the other side.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Casper is a fun film to watch around Halloween as it deals with ghosts, a creepy old mansion and lots of crazy antics. There is plenty of humor to keep your kids entertained. Seeing ghosts flying around is surely going to get your kids in the mood for Halloween and is a great way to get their imaginations opened up and ready to create. The special effects still hold up very well to this day and will have your kids believing in ghosts.
There is also a great lesson in friendship and relationships between Kat and Casper. Christina Ricci plays the young Kat, who immediately befriends the misunderstood ghost, Casper. Not only is this a great teaching moment about how it is okay to be different, it is also an introduction for your preteen on relationships and those new feelings that may be springing up about the opposite sex.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of fun antics in the film that will get your kids wishing they were at Disneyland. A moment that comes to mind is the chair ride that Kat’s dad discovers. This is a fun little interlude that lightens up the mood and gets the energy level in the room up.
Lastly, there are a lot of fun moments with the other “villain” of the movie, Carrigan Crittenden, who will stop at nothing to get the treasure map. She gets picked on by the ghosts and is usually at the wrong end of all of the pranks, including getting electrocuted and having her hair stand up on end! It is small moments like these that your kids will remember, and you can feel good about them laughing at the cartoony violence, because it is happening to the “bad guy”, who always walks away unharmed (until the end).
Casper is available on DVD.