Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Casper (1995)

It is interesting to revisit films that you have such fond memories of. I went to see Casper at an advanced screening with my Mother back in 1995, I was 15 years old so maybe just a little older (and only just) than the intended audience. I believe it was one of the first advanced screenings I had attended. I came out with a smile on my face and immediately went down the road to purchase James Horner's beautiful score on CD. I still think it is one of his best, even if it does borrow most of its themes from every movie he had scored prior, but enough about the music, the film appealed to me for a number of other reasons. The cast was good, I had a crush on Christina Ricci, I love Monty Python so I was pleased to see Eric Idle, Bill Pullman is always good and very underrated in most of his roles, Steven Spielberg produced it and I was a total fanboy, all of that and I am interested in Ghost Stories.

I never really watched Casper the TV series, so I wasn't too familiar with the character, I am still not sure to this day if it lived up to the expectations of people who were. I am pretty sure the film was not higely popular, but I do believe it made most of its money back.

Anyhow, I rewatched it on DVD the other day, the film has aged and of course with my current advanced watching state the film certainly had issues. Some huge, glaring holes and quite a number of "bloopers" that were more obvious to me now more than ever, yet, I still love the film. Sure it has sappy moments and predictable plot points, but it is one of the few movies from my childhood that actually has a heart. It tells a nice little story and it tells it quite well. The visual effects hold up surpisingly well, and this is back in the early 90's where CGI was only really just starting to take off. With a $40million dollar budget the movie was quite small by today's standards, so it is even more amazing to see what they accomplished with so little money....especially when 4 of the main characters do not exist outside the realm of a computer.

I love home theatres, and this film is a treat to watch in surround sound. Gary Rydstrom is a legend among sound designers. He is responsible for all bar 1 film that would appear in my top 10 list of awesome surround movies. (I will post that list sometime in the future...maybe) and his work here in impeccable. The DVD has both DTS and Dolby Digital options, if you have a DTS system I would strongly recommend using it.

The image quality on the disc was little worse for ware, I would love to see this on Blu-ray and I am hoping that it won't be too far away, but given how long it took to get its release on DVD I am not sure that it is a lead title.

Well, Casper keeps its place in my fond childhood memories, I forgive it its weaknesses so that I might maintain them.... Boo knows what I might think in 10 years time....(sad, I know) ;)

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