I recall this film popping out of nowhere really, saw a trailer for it out of the blue, liked the look of it and went to see it. The creepy Addams Family visuals along with some really sweet looking effects hooked me and overall I really enjoyed this little kiddie flick.
The plot is a simple Scooby Doo type affair really. There's a big old spooky mansion where Casper and his three uncle ghosts reside. An evil tyrannical female inherits the mansion and wants to find the treasure hidden within its bowels (then tear it down), problem is the ghosts. So she hires Bill Pullman (a paranormal therapist) and his daughter Ricci to get rid of the spooks.
This being a kids flick its very predictable so I needn't tell you how things unfold. What I will say is the film is a highly enjoyable ghostie adventure with some really nice looking cobweb ridden sets, charming locations, quirky humour, acceptable performances and great CGI amazingly.
The ghost effects on Casper are really nice and hold up well today. He's easily the best of the bunch visually, he looks quite realistic actually. The three naughty uncles are slightly more cartoonish looking and act so. The jokes and slapstick from them is very childish, you can see the one liners and sight gags coming a mile off but that's expected. Other ghosts that materialise during the film also look more like cartoons and not as effective as Casper, not too sure why Pullman's wife appears as a proper human though when all the others are CGI, emotional moment I guess.
The other thing that impresses is how well the actors interact with the CGI spooks, believe it or not but they do look in all the right places and at the right times. You'd half expect this film to have hokey effects and badly directed live action but its really good all the way through. There are some unnecessary quickfire cameos that's for sure, the only clever one was seeing Dan Aykroyd turn up as 'Ray Stantz', I liked that.
Hot on the heels of a certain Charles Addams creation Ricci follows on with her adopted kooky persona with this halloween caper, and its suits her perfectly. Pullman is a blundering but lovable father to Ricci's character whilst Casper is voiced nicely and acted well by a young Devon Sawa in human form. The only let down is the rather lame villainess and her henchman played by Eric Idle who didn't really need to be here.
At times this film is actually very sweet and can bring a lump to your throat, it has that sickly sentimental touch, especially during the finale. But overall this is a great fun film if you enjoy light-hearted supernatural silliness. To sum up it isn't too far from a kids version of 'Beetlejuice' or 'High Spirits' and much better than the Eddie Murphy vehicle 'The Haunted Mansion'.