Have you ever thought of what it may be like to remember nothing from your life, to lose the possibility of touch, to be so transparently white that the outside world doesn’t even know you exist? No I’m not talking about Michael Jackson, I’m talking about Casper.
Casper is a friendly boy-ghost who is housed up with three other apparitions (Stretch, Fatso, and Stinkie). These three elder ghosts are Casper’s uncles and not so agreeable. When Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) inherits a mansion with the possibility of hidden treasure, she hires Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) to rid of the four haunted spirits.
Casper is a surprisingly well-made film. Of course, it directs its attention to adolescents, and that must be factored in when watching the movie. Casper and Dr. Harvey’s daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), go through coming-of-age situations, trying to find themselves while finding each other.
The cast is strong enough to pull off this kiddy tale. Pullman is always bright, bringing a down-to-earth presence to any role. Ricci does well as a child, and this role readies her for later works like Sleepy Hollow and Monster. Dan Akroyd makes a fun cameo as a much wider and older Raymond Stanz, who claims that the Ghostbusters couldn’t even handle Casper’s group of impressions.
Each character is dealing with his or her own affliction. Casper yearns for life, the only thing that could bring him closer to his crush, Kat. Kat desires to see her deceased mother. Dr. Harvey wishes for the same as his daughter, all the while trying to prove to the world that ghosts do exist and that he is not mentally insane.
A childish tale never comes without its annoyances. The three uncles are beyond aggravating, like the immature student who thinks it’s funny to fart in class. Considering the target audience is full of youngsters, the characters often talk to themselves, chatting out the plot so said audience won’t lose their way. As a result, we often get cheesy one-liners that may fly over the smartest children’s heads.
For what it is, Casper is a decent flick with surprisingly high peaks and fairly low valleys. The inability of Casper to connect with the outside world is heartbreaking, especially considering he is only a “child”. The next time you believe the outside world isn’t paying attention, do what Casper does and make the most of your situation. After all, nothing in our lives is as permanent as death.