Awfully Good Movies – Casper: A Spirited Beginning

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997)

DIRECTOR: Sean McNamara          CAST: Steve Guttenberg, Lori Loughlin, Rodney Dangerfield

To celebrate the end of Halloween 2019, Awfully Good Movies presents the second part of our Halloween special…CASPER: A SPIRITED BEGINNING! Yes, you children of the 90s probably have fond memories of the first CASPER movie from 1995, as producer Steven Spielberg brought his magic touch to a live-action film version of the beloved cartoon character who was always looking for a friend in spite of his frighteningly ghostly appearance. But one year before Saban Entertainment would ruin the Addams Family, they decided to take another Halloween-related film property starring Christina Ricci and give it a direct-to-video reboot in association with Casper's owners at Harvey Entertainment. And this time, they gave audiences the origin story of Casper and his ghostly trio of uncles that no one was asking for, especially since that first movie already explored Casper's pre-ghost backstory and no kid wanted to see a prequel where Devon Sawa as Casper slowly dies of pneumonia.

Unfortunately, the prequel we get instead ends up being far worse than that, as director Sean McNamara of 3 NINJAS: HIGH NOON AT MEGA MOUNTAIN fame brings his signature unfunny slapstick to the tale of a newly dead Casper hanging out with a lonely boy named Chris whose father played by Steve Guttenberg is far too busy trying to build a mini-mall in the middle of town to pay attention to his son, while Guttenberg's plans are held up by the Ghostly Trio of Stretch, Stinky and Fatso haunting the inside of the to-be-demolished Applegate Mansion. And as Casper tries bringing this fractured father and son back together and trying to learn how to be a ghost from the Ghostly Trio, he comes across an all-star cast: Rodney Dangerfield, Michael McKean, Sherman Hemsley, and in a hilariously ironic bit of casting, Lori Loughlin playing the boy's schoolteacher, as well as James Earl Jones and (*shudder*) Pauly Shore voicing the roles of two villainous ghosts trying to drag Casper back to their ghost training program.

But no one in this cast can help improve the subpar CGI effects and the constant stream of cliches from 90s kids comedies which makes CASPER: A SPIRITED BEGINNING yet another subpar direct-to-video ripoff from the corporate fatcats at Saban Entertainment. However, I will give this movie a little credit, in that it prevented me yet again from having to review either of those Madea Halloween movies for my Halloween special this year.

Whew…another bullet dodged there. Hallo Happyween, Everybody!

And snack on these other Fun-Size Halloween specials from the past five years of Awfully Good past:







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