Also known as “Casper Saves Halloween” and “Casper the Friendly Ghost: He Ain’t Scary, He’s Our Brother,” the titular ghost’s Halloween special is about as rough around the edges as you’d expect from a production from the company from 1979. Around that time Hanna Barbera had absolutely no limits about whom they gave a show to, and Casper took time out of his series “Casper and the Angels” to help save Halloween. As opposed to his short lived series where Casper teamed up with two futuristic space cops. No, really.
Less budget, and less stars, this time Casper’s adventures are reduced to a pretty crummy animated feature where Casper teams up with another spunky young girl. She’s a girl facing a crisis about Christmas and she needs the help of… Casper. Makes sense, I guess. “Casper’s Haunted Christmas” is a noticeably bargain basement style production compared to the previous movies, all the while the animation is often weird and the narrative nonsensical.
Well if anything “Casper Meets Wendy” is much better than “A Spirited Beginning” despite offering no big surprises. Unless you consider that the only cast member that’s been in most “Casper” movies so far is Pauly Shore. In the former film he played a bad ghost, and here he plays a fortune telling magical mirror. As with most of these movies, there is a whole cast of D list celebrities, and the adaptation of Harvey Comics’ “Wendy The Good Little Witch” is an excuse to introduce future teen star Hilary Duff. To her credit Duff is adorable.
I, for one, quite loved the big screen reboot of “Casper” with Christina Ricci. As a kid I loved its human elements and fun atmosphere. And then they kind of ruined it with a bunch of direct to video sequels and prequels that stunk. “A Spirited Beginning” is one of many that completely copies the formula of the original movie, with performances that are oh so much worse.
“Ghouls, Goblins and Ghosts are Running Amok In This Frightfully Fun Family Collection!” For Halloween festivities this year, Mill Creek Entertainment has offered animation fans a chance to watch some off beat and classic family fun in the spirit of All Hallows Eve. Featured on the DVD are five classic Casper the Friendly Ghost shorts that I grew up with. Among the five are “There’s Good Boos Tonight,” “The Friendly Ghost,” “Boo Moon,” and “A Haunting We Will Go.”
I have never had fun watching Casper and as a rule my mom made sure to play his series for my brother and I when we were bored out of our skulls. I never understood why because Casper always left us on the verge of tears; we never had a laugh watching Casper’s adventures because there was nothing funny about it. To be honest, I always avoided Casper because there’s simply nothing more traumatic than watching the spirit of a dead child who can not fit in to the human world, try to make friends only to be turned down and run away from. Why the hell does this character even exist?! Who in their right minds ever thought the spirit of a dead kid would serve as fun family fare? It really just wants to make you blow your brains out.