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Casper Reviews

The computer-generated image of a translucent spirit hovering over the supine form of Christina Ricci may not remind you of incubi — those ghostly creatures of the night once believed to ravish sleeping women — but then, you're probably better adjusted than we are. Kat (Ricci), a lonely pre-teen, has followed her nomadic father around the country ever since the death of her mother Amelia. Her dad, Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), is a ghost psychiatrist, or "therapist for the living impaired." When evil heiress Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) and her lawyer, Dibs (Eric Idle), hire Dr. Harvey to exorcise a haunted mansion — they're hoping to find treasure hidden inside — Kat is dragged to Friendship, Maine. On arrival at dilapidated Whipstaff Manor, Kat meets Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson), a cuddly, translucent white ghost with big blue eyes, who just wants a friend. Dr. Harvey, on the other hand, has his hands full with Casper's three uncles, who are not so cute or friendly. As Kat and Casper become friends, they set out to reconstruct his life, the facts of which he has forgotten. They discover that Casper's father invented a one-time-only method to bring the dead back to life, a machine which Casper intends to use. Based on the Friendly Ghost of comic-book fame, this highly derivative kid pic is also hugely — and presumably unintentionally — creepy: Let's face it, it's about a dead boy who falls in love with a real live girl. The high-tech animation is completely persuasive; nothing else is.