Casper (film)

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Casper
Casper poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrad Silberling
Produced byColin Wilson
Written bySherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
Based onCasper the Friendly Ghost 
by Seymour Reit
Joe Oriolo
StarringChristina Ricci
Bill Pullman
Malachi Pearson
Cathy Moriarty
Eric Idle
Music byJames Horner
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byMichael Kahn
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 26, 1995 (1995-05-26)
Running time100 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$55 million[1]
Box office$287,928,194[1]
 
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For other uses, see Casper (disambiguation).
Casper
Casper poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrad Silberling
Produced byColin Wilson
Written bySherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
Based onCasper the Friendly Ghost 
by Seymour Reit
Joe Oriolo
StarringChristina Ricci
Bill Pullman
Malachi Pearson
Cathy Moriarty
Eric Idle
Music byJames Horner
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byMichael Kahn
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 26, 1995 (1995-05-26)
Running time100 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$55 million[1]
Box office$287,928,194[1]

Casper is a 1995 American family comedy fantasy film starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, and Amy Brenneman, based on the Casper the Friendly Ghost comic books and animated cartoons. The ghosts featured in the film were created through computer-generated imagery.

Plot[edit]

A vindictive woman, Carrigan Crittenden is upset upon the reading of her late father's will that she was given creepy Whipstaff Manor in Friendship, Maine instead of his fortune, but she changes her tune when she learns that there is a hidden treasure within the property. She and her assistant Dibs go to the house in order to investigate, but find that it is haunted by a friendly ghost named Casper and his obnoxious prankster uncles the Ghostly Trio; Fatso, Stretch and Stinky who quickly frighten them off the property. Carrigan tries several means to rid the house of ghosts, but fails time and time again. Meanwhile, Casper sees a report of a paranormal therapist James Harvey and is immediately smitten by his teenaged daughter Kat. He quickly manipulates the television in order to convince Carrigan to have the Harveys come out to the manor to investigate the haunting.

James and Kat's relationship is strained, after the death of her mother Amelia, he devotes all of his time into finding her, believing her to have unfinished business and having not moved on to the afterlife. As a result, Kat has had no chance to make friends as they are constantly moving across the country. Upon arriving in Maine, Casper's plan to befriend Kat and her father backfires when his chaotic uncles come home and try to force the Harveys out. James stands resolute and manages to successfully move in. Kat tries to fit in at school, inadvertently gaining popularity for staying at the popular Whipstaff manor and winning the students over for a Halloween party there instead of the popular Amber's boat house where it would have been less authentic. Meanwhile, the trio has tried to make peace with James and even say they will find Amelia for him, while Kat and Casper become friends. She learns Casper does not remember the details of his life, so she takes him to remember it; eventually coming across an old abandoned toy room. Capser begins to remember details of his life, and when he comes across a sled he remembers that he died of an illness (likely pneumonia) when he stayed out late playing with it, but he chose not to move on, in order to take care of his lonely father. He also remembers a machine his father created called the Lazarus; capable of bringing a ghost back to life. Carrigan and Dibs overhear this and contemplate one of them dying and coming back as a ghost in order to get into the vault supposedly containing the treasure they sought. Carrigan tries to kill Dibs, but accidentally falls from a cliff, dying instead.

James and the trio go out to several bars, as James gets increasingly drunk, the trio decides they could always have fun if they make their trio a "quartet" by killing off James. However, they grow to like him too much and decide they can't kill him. Instead, a drunken James falls to his death in an open manhole. Back at the manor, Carrigan as a ghost stops the Lazarus machine before it can resurrect Casper (having earlier learning there was only one dose of the potion to bring him to life} and steals the treasure. She also kills Dibs who finally grows a spine and stands up to her, but Casper and Kat trick her into admitting that with her treasure and the potion to bring her back to life she has no unfinished business, and she is ejected involuntarily to the afterlife. The treasure, revealed by Casper is a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball card signed by his favorite player Duke Snider. James returns home, now a ghost and doesn't recognize Kat until she shows him who she is. Casper sacrifices his chance at a new life in order to bring James back to life. The party starting downstairs, Kat goes down to greet the guests, while the trio scare off Amber and her boyfriend Vic who had arrived to sabbotage the party. Amelia appears to Casper and for his sacrifice, she gives him until the stroke of 10 to be human. Casper approaches Kat, who doesn't recognize him until they start dancing while Amelia tells James that she was so well taken care of during life that she has no "unfinished business", and pleads James not to make finding her, his. At the chime of 10, just as Casper and Kat kiss, the spell breaks and he becomes a ghost again. He attempts to say "Hi" to the guests, but they scream in terror and flee the manor. Not to let a party go to waste, James leads the trio into starting a Halloween party all their own, having become a family themselves.

Cast[edit]

Cameos as themselves

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack was composed by award-winning composer James Horner, who had worked on a number of previous movies for Amblin Entertainment, including An American Tail.

Casper
Soundtrack album by James Horner
ReleasedApril 29, 1995
Recorded1994 - 1995
GenreSoundtrack
LabelMCA Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic1.5/5 stars
  1. "No Sign of Ghosts"
  2. "Carrigan and Dibbs"
  3. "Strangers in the House"
  4. "First Haunting/The Swordfight"
  5. "March of the Exorcists"
  6. "Lighthouse—Casper & Kat"
  7. "Casper Makes Breakfast"
  8. "Fond Memories"
  9. "'Dying' to Be a Ghost"
  10. "Casper's Lullaby"
  11. "Descent to Lazarus"
  12. "One Last Wish"
  13. "Remember Me This Way" – Jordan Hill
  14. "Casper the Friendly Ghost" – Little Richard
  15. "The Uncles Swing/End Credits"

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Overall the film was a huge success at the box office, opening at #1 over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing $16,840,385 over its first three days from 2,714 theaters, averaging $6,205 per theater. Over four days it grossed $22,091,975, averaging $8,140 per theater. It stayed at #1 in its second weekend, grossing another $13,409,610, and boosting its 10-day cume to $38,921,225. It played solidly all through the summer, ending up with a final gross of $100,328,194 domestically, and achieved even greater success internationally, grossing an additional $187,600,000, for a total worldwide gross of $287,928,194, against a $55 million budget, making it a massive commercial success.[1]

Critical[edit]

Casper received generally mixed reviews from film critics. At Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews the film has a "rotten" rating of 44%. Time Out London described it as "an intimate and likeable film".[2] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, calling it a "technical achievement, it's impressive, and entertaining. And there is even a little winsome philosophy."[3] 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 either with nothing or with stand-in maquettes used as animators' references.

Cathy Moriarty's performance was criticized, with Variety saying she does "a poor woman's Cruella de Vil".[4] Many reviewers also felt that Eric Idle, being a venerable comedian, was underused in the role of Moriarty's obsequious henchman.

Legacy[edit]

Sequel[edit]

In the mid-1990s, Simon Wells co-wrote a screenplay for Casper 2, which he was set to direct. Amblin Entertainment cancelled the sequel because they did not believe there would be enough interest from moviegoers. Wells also credited the uncertainty of actress Christina Ricci returning and Fox's ill-received direct-to-video Casper films as contributing to the cancellation of Casper 2.[5]

Video games[edit]

There were several games based on or tied-in with Casper released on the major consoles of the time, such as the 3DO, Super Nintendo, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Color and original Game Boy.

Trivia[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Casper (1995)". Box Office Mojo. 1995-09-24. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  2. ^ "Casper Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  3. ^ "Casper :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  4. ^ Lowry, Brian (1995-05-21). "Variety Reviews - Casper - Film Reviews - - Review by Brian Lowry". Variety.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  5. ^ Armstrong, Josh (2011-08-15). "Mars Needs Moms, but Earth needs Director Simon Wells!". Animated Views. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  6. ^ Cindy Pearlman (1995-06-21). "Ghost Busters". EW.com. Retrieved 2014-12-02.

External links[edit]