Casper (1995) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 5

directing 5

effects 5

editing 5

writing 5


2.5 out of 5 🐙


This is a perfectly cromulent movie for kids. There’s nothing very good about it, but there’s also not anything very bad about it. It is an average movie with some laughs and some sweet moments. It’s something you have on in the background while you make paella. Or something you put on in the minivan’s DVD player in the backseat so the kids don’t start whining.

Part of the problem here is the source material. How exciting can things get when your protagonist is a friendly ghost? They literally had to invent a sad backstory for him to make him more interesting. And I’m not sure that really worked. Did Casper need to get dark? He’s not Batman. Not every fantasy character needs a tortured past. 

Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman give perfectly ok performances but nothing that will be cited in any retrospective of their careers. Both turns just felt obligatory. The script was full of lame jokes and there were only a few moments of genuine quality:

-When the Ghosts describe what they are made of: “that tingling feeling when your foot falls asleep.”

-James Horner’s score; he can bring the music. 

-Dan Aykroyd’s cameo (this might be the funniest part of the film and it relied entirely on referencing another film; not a good sign).

The big deep emotional dive of the movie is when Kat asks Casper what it’s like to die. Now, that’s a fascinating question to ask any being that’s crossed that veil. But it is far too dark and weighty for a kid movie. I’m not saying kid movies can’t be smart. But this just felt atonal. Again, Casper doesn’t need to go dark to be good (see The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales for something that’s light but also witty and smart). 

It’s perfectly cromulent. It’s kind of ok. Mostly. Maybe. Meh. Whatever. 







(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)


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