×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Casper, A Spirited Beginning

Aimed squarely at the grade-schoolers who helped make 1995's "Casper" a B.O. hit and homevideo bestseller, "Casper, A Spirited Beginning" is a lightweight made-for-video "prequel" that should post impressively strong sales. Rental prospects are slightly less lustrous, if only because of new pic's more limited appeal.

With:
Tim Carson - Steve Guttenberg
Sheila Fistergraff - Lori Loughlin
Chris Carson - Brendon Ryan Barrett
Mayor Hunt - Rodney Dangerfield
Bill Case - Michael McKean

Aimed squarely at the grade-schoolers who helped make 1995’s “Casper” a B.O. hit and homevideo bestseller, “Casper, A Spirited Beginning” is a lightweight made-for-video “prequel” that should post impressively strong sales. Rental prospects are slightly less lustrous, if only because of new pic’s more limited appeal. Unlike its predecessor, which made at least token efforts to amuse and involve older viewers, this by-the-numbers follow-up is strictly kid stuff.

True to its title, “A Spirited Beginning” begins with Casper (voiced by Jeremy Foley) introduced as a neophyte ectoplasm on his way to a spooky boot camp for the newly departed. Bounced from the “ghost train” by a cranky fellow passenger, Casper winds up in Deedstown, a quaint little hamlet with its very own haunted house.

Stinky, Stretch and Fatso — aka the Ghostly Trio — claim Applegate Manor as their haunting ground, and offer to teach Casper the supernatural tricks of their trade.

Steve Guttenberg heads the human cast as a developer who wants to raze Applegate Manor to make way for a shopping center. Things get complicated when Chris (Brendon Ryan Barrett), the developer’s 10-year-old son, befriends Casper and joins his preservation-minded schoolteacher (Lori Loughlin) in a campaign to save the haunted mansion.

Much like the 1995 “Casper,” new effort relies heavily on dazzling computer-generated trickery to fill key roles. Casper and the other ghosts — including the overbearing Kibosh (voiced by James Earl Jones) and the craven Snivel (Pauly Shore) — seem more real, and much more charismatic, than their flesh-and-blood co-stars. Guttenberg and Barrett make agreeable impressions, but Loughlin and several others give overemphatic performances that can only be described as cartoonish.

Director Sean McNamara sustains a pace that is perfectly suited to viewers with limited attention spans. Some parents may wonder why a children’s film contains so many in-jokey references to “The X-Files” (which, like “A Spirited Beginning,” is a Fox product). But that won’t keep them from repeatedly using the pic as a made-for-video baby sitter.

Casper, A Spirited Beginning

Production: A 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Saban Entertainment homevideo release in association with the Harvey Entertainment Co. Produced by Mike Elliott. Executive producers, Haim Saban, Jeffrey A. Montgomery, Lance H. Robbins. Directed by Sean McNamara. Screenplay, Jymn Magon, Thomas Hart, from a story by Thomas McCluskey, Rob Kerchner.

Crew: Camera (color), Christian Sebaldt; editors, John Walts, John Gilbert; music, Udi Harpaz; production design, Nava, Arlan Jay Vetter. MPAA rating: PG. Running time: 94 min.

With: Tim Carson - Steve Guttenberg
Sheila Fistergraff - Lori Loughlin
Chris Carson - Brendon Ryan Barrett
Mayor Hunt - Rodney Dangerfield
Bill Case - Michael McKean
Voices: James Earl Jones (Kibosh), Pauly Shore (Snivel), Jeremy Foley (Casper), Bill Farmer (Stinky), Jess Harnell (Fatso), James Ward (Stretch).

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    China's Huanxi Media Picks Up 'Snowpiercer' TV Show From ITV Studios

    China’s Huanxi Media Group Limited has bought the exclusive broadcasting right in the mainland for the forthcoming sci-fi TV series “Snowpiercer” from ITV Studios Global Entertainment. The show is based on South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s film of the same name and is set to debut on TBS in the U.S. in the spring of [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    'I Lost My Body' Director Jeremy Clapin On His Critics’ Week Breakout

    CANNES  — Jeremy Clapin’s feature debut “I Lost My Body” follows Naoufel, a young man who moves to France, falls in love and tries to create a new life.  Then in a parallel storyline, it follows Naoufel’s severed hand, which runs, jumps and rolls across Paris in an attempt to find the rest of its [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Expands Suit Against Agencies With New Fraud Allegations

    The Writers Guild of America has bulked up its lawsuit with additional fraud allegations against Hollywood’s four biggest talent agencies. The WGA amended its suit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court with the claim that CAA, WME, UTA and ICM partners have engaged “constructive fraud” by allegedly placing their own interests ahead of their clients [...]

  • 'Heroes Don't Die' Review: A Peculiar,

    Cannes Film Review: 'Heroes Don't Die'

    Just when you think modern cinema has exploited the found-footage conceit from every conceivable angle, along comes a tragicomic mockumentary tracing Bosnia’s recent war-ravaged history via the travails of a young French film crew getting to the root of a reincarnated identity crisis. Aude Léa Rapin’s first narrative feature “Heroes Don’t Die” is nothing if [...]

  • Mediapro, Complutense, NFTS Team On Screenwriting

    The Mediapro Group Launches Master’s Program at Madrid’s Complutense University

    Madrid-based production hub The Mediapro Studio has announced finalized details of an arrangement with Madrid’s Complutense University (UCM) and the National Film and Television School of London (NFTS) on a new Master’s program designed to develop new screenwriting talent. Mediapro general director Juan Ruiz de Gauna, UCM dean of information sciences Jorge Clemente and Irene [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content