Casper (film)

Infobox Film
name = Casper


caption = Casper poster
director = Brad Silberling
producer = Steven Spielberg
Colin Wilson
writer = Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo (characters)
Sherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
starring = Bill Pullman
Christina Ricci
Cathy Moriarty
Eric Idle
voices = Malachi Pearson
Joe Nipote
Joe Alaskey
Brad Garrett
music = James Horner
cinematography = Dean Cundey
editing = Michael Kahn
distributor = Universal Pictures
released = May 26, 1995
runtime = 100 min.
country = flag|U.S.
language = English
budget = $55,000,000
gross = $287,928,194
website =
preceded_by =
followed_by = ""
amg_id = 1:134728
imdb_id = 0112642

"Casper" is a 1995 live-action feature film based on the "Casper the Friendly Ghost" cartoons and comic strips. The ghosts featured in the film were created through computer-generated imagery.

Synopsis

Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty), a selfish and cruel woman, grows angered when she finds out from her father's lawyer Mr. Rugg (Ben Stein) that her deceased father's will only leaves her with an old house, Whipstaff Manor. Infuriated, she tosses the will and deed to Whipstaff into a fireplace but it is rescued by her attorney and close associate Dibs (Eric Idle). Dibs discovers one of the will's pages has an inscription on it describing treasure hidden in the manor. Carrigan and Dibs visit the old manor, but find it is haunted by four ghosts, Casper (voice of Malachi Pearson), a seemingly friendly ghost and his three taunting uncles, the Ghostly Trio: Stretch (voice of Joe Nipote), Stinky (voice of Joe Alaskey) & Fatso (voice of Brad Garrett). The two try to remove the ghosts through various ways:

* First Carrigan and Dibs try using Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) to attempt an exorcism. It doesn't go well as he leaves the house with his head on backwards.
* Then, they call in Ghostbuster Dr. Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) to bust them. They end up scaring him away as he quotes to Carrigan and Dibs "Who You Gonna Call? Someone Else" upon his departure.
* They also try to have a demolition crew destroy the building. The Ghostly Trio drive them away.

Casper, who is lonely, watches a news report about a therapist to the dead, Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman). His daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), is seen on television and Casper instantly falls in love with her. Casper manages to play the news report to Carrigan who decides to contact Dr. Harvey.

Dr. Harvey and Kat travel to Friendship, Maine where the manor is located. Kat and her father have been travelling around the country for years, Dr. Harvey in search for his deceased wife Amelia as a ghost. Carrigan and Dibs meet them at the manor, Carrigan asking Dr. Harvey to remove the ghosts as quickly as possible. However, the Harveys have immense trouble doing this, Casper attempting to befriend them while the Ghostly Trio cause mayhem for Dr. Harvey. They enter his body changing him into Clint Eastwood, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Gibson and the Crypt Keeper and then fight him using umbrellas. He defeats them with a vacuum cleaner. The next day, Casper and Kat become friends properly. Kat goes to her high school for her first day, meeting Vic DePhillippi and his pompous girlfriend Amber Whitmire, one of the self-proclaimed coolest girls in the school, and the most boring in her class. When Kat reveals to her new classmates that she lives in Whipstaff, her classmates, who have all heard of it, consider having their upcoming Halloween dance there, much to the annoyance of Amber, so Amber takes a vote on whether the party should be at her home or at Whipstaff. Nobody votes for Amber, but the vast majority of the class votes Whipstaff, and just at the sound of the bell. Dr. Harvey also reveals his goals to the Ghostly Trio who take a liking to him.

Kat finds Casper's old bedroom in the attic and Casper remembers his past life in Belle Époque, including how he died from a fatal illness. His father attempted to revive him by building a machine called Lazarus. Casper remembers its location and takes Kat to it via a secret passage leading to an underground laboratory. Carrigan and Dibs follow, learning that special formula, which only works on 1 person, powers the machine. They steal it and realise they could use it to rob banks, the process involving them dying, stealing the money as ghosts and then returning using Lazarus. The two try to kill each other to see if it works but it ends with Carrigan falling down a cliff and returning as a ghost. Carrigan steals the treasure chest from the manor's vault and orders Dibs to revive her. He refuses and betrays her, Carrigan throwing him out of a window. Casper and Kat trick Carrigan into claiming she has no unfinished business, causing her to pass onto the afterlife, disappearing forever. Casper reveals that his treasure wouldn't have been valuable to Carrigan anyway, because it turns out to be a baseball autographed by Capser's favorite Brooklyn Dodgers player, Duke Snyder. Dr. Harvey shows up as a ghost, having died during a happy hour with the Ghostly Trio. Casper revives him, giving up his last chance of returning to life. The Halloween party begins and Kat ends up being the only person without a dancing partner. A boy (played by Devon Sawa) appears before her and they dance. He reveals himself as Casper by saying: "I told you I was a good dancer. Can I keep you?" Which were two lines from earlier in the film. Casper was previously visited by Amelia, Dr. Harvey's long-lost wife, as an angel who revived him (as a reward for saving Dr. Harvey) until 10 o'clock, similar to the story of Cinderella. Casper and Kat kiss just as Casper turns back into a ghost at the final stroke of 10, scaring all the Halloween guests away. However, he doesn't mind, and neither does Kat. The Ghostly Trio then start playing a rock and roll version of Casper the Friendly Ghost and the movie ends.

Reaction

The film was generally well-received as a family feature, with "Time Out London" describing it as "an intimate and likeable film" [http://www.timeout.com/film/68929.html] . The CGI effects, which were cutting edge at the time, and the performances of Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci were praised, especially considering that, in the scenes where the Harveys interact with the ghosts, Pullman and Ricci were actually acting with nothing.

Cathy Moriarty's performance, however, was much criticized, with "Variety" saying she does "a poor woman's Cruella de Vil" [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117904082.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0] in the movie. Many reviewers also felt that Eric Idle, being a venerable comedian, was underused in the role of Moriarty's obsequious henchman. Some critics also felt it was a mistake for the film to juxtapose cartoon-esque comedy with serious themes about death.

Nevertheless, the film was a success at the box office, grossing $100 million in the United States, almost twice its budget, and $326 million worldwide.

The film continues to be shown on television in the family feature slot of many networks, especially around Halloween and Christmas.

External links

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