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Casper’s Scare School


I like Casper. But I hate those direct-to-video CG Casper movies.

However, I just became aware of this new Casper movie which played on the Cartoon Network last year. I checked the website, the stills, and the music video. It looks kinda cute. I’m liking the design of the supporting characters. I think maybe I’ll give this one a shot.

Hey, it’s for kids – and we’ve seen worse. And I’m not saying this because I have my own Casper book coming out.

  • I thought the point to Casper being a friendly ghost was that he wasn’t supposed to be, you know, creepy.

  • Adam

    Those eyes on Casper are downright creepy.

  • The company that did this, made a previous christmas casper straight-to-dvd movie as well. I think it’s Mainframe entertainment. It was cute.

    It had alot more in common with the bizarro-casper “Casper” movie that came out in’95 with Christina Ricci in it. And if I recall Dan Akroyd had a cameo as a ghostbuster in it.

    I some old “KidVid” Casper cartoons on VHS. It’s neat how Casper evolved from being a chubby boy-like ghost to being a bobble-head sort of thing. Man some of those cartoons were depressing. :[

  • MattSullivan

    Dammit. Casper was so 50 years ago. THIS is the reason American animation isn’t going anywhere. Frickin executives won’t green light anything unlessit has a recognizable brand name ( IE CASPER)

    It’s so frickin hard for anything NEW to get made…

  • Pete

    You didn’t even mention that it contains new music by Captain and Tennille!

  • JG

    This CG Caspar reminds me of the stoned biker rabbit from Fritz the cat.

    No really, he looks creapy. The background characters look better.

  • Steve

    This already aired on Cartoon Network UK months ago. It was crap, and the Ghostly Trio were out of character just like Bluto was in Mainframe’s Popeye movie.

  • Steve

    This already aired on Cartoon Network in the UK. It was rubbish. The Ghostly Trio are out-of-character, just like Bluto in Mainframe’s Popeye movie. What is it with Mainframe turning classic villains into good guys?

  • MechaV

    Er…didn’t Cartoon Network already premier this last October?

  • ZekeySpaceLizard:

    This new special is a co-production between Mainframe (which did some past Casper specials, including a Christmas one) and DNA Productions (JIMMY NEUTRON, THE ANT BULLY).

    I’ve seen it last year, and thought it was cute, even though Casper sounds kind of like he has a teen voice.

  • Rich

    It did appear on Cartoon Network last October– numerous times. It was passively OK. I wanted to like it more than I did because the secondary characters had a better-than-average design.

  • The supporting characters kind of look like vinyl toys, which is nice. I think this may of worked better without Casper in it, ad just been called “Scare School”, but as Matt already pointed out: this might not of even got commissioned if it didn’t have a recognizable character in it. Who knows, maybe they added him in by the exec’s request after pitching it? “We’ll pay for your film, but only if you can squeeze his character we need to make more money off in first”. It sure would explain how he seems to just be there for no reason, and looks generally less refined than the other characters.

  • Mainframe Entertainment? Didn’t they make Reboot and Beast Wars?

  • paul

    this DTV was the first fully CG film to come out of crest animation in India. They handled it from start to finish. Classic Media was the producer along with ralph guggenheim and there was a small international group, 10 of us, to help through the crunch at the end
    of delivery.

  • Jerry-
    i saw this last year with my kids and we loved it. the animation and design was very nice and the soundtrack in particular was very well handled: this is the only show on CN in recent memory where the characters all delivered their lines without SCREECHING at the top of the lungs!!! The voice acting is very natural and allows some subtlety in the animation. Very reminiscent of old Rankin/Bass at their best. Casper himself speaks with the voice of a normal 12 year old kid instead of a grown woman coyly imitating one with that stock syrupy kid voice. It was funny and hip without being cynical and they looked like they did a lot of nice work on a low budget. I liked it so much i telephoned the company Classic Media to tell them so. For a TV special it was a nice change of pace. I look forward to seeing it again.

  • How is it that so many entities acquiring the Casper license get permission to throw out everything we know about the character?
    Until Spielberg’s film, Casper had slowly built up a fairly elaborate mythology that involved himself and a set group of established friends/enemies living in an enchanted forest, where traditionally scary beings (ghosts, witches, demons) lived from “birth� and were as often misunderstood good guys as bad guys. I was never a big Casper fan, but those who were clearly relished how nicely all of this had been developed.
    Spielberg, or some combination of his director and writers, threw almost all of this out—Casper was now back to being a dead little boy in a haunted house. The few surviving supporting characters had their names and relationships changed. Is the price of a big-screen movie; that someone who seems to know little about the character’s established mythology gets to reinvent it at his whim?
    One writer was Sherri Stoner, so I can hardly claim nobody cared; on the TV series following the movie, Stoner and others did try to bring things back as they “should be,� at least as far as appealing to those who liked Casper before. They were still hamstrung by the impact of the movie, insofar as Casper himself now had to be drawn in 2D as a variant of his odd-looking 3D self. Nevertheless, a lot of the old world and supporting characters returned.
    Flash forward ten years, though, and now we’ve got another movie that surrounds Casper with new characters, as if it doesn’t matter that they’re working with the Casper license at all.
    Everyone remembers, when they were kids, wanting to watch Cartoon A while big brother or sister wanted to watch Cartoon B. Why, as an adult, should big brother be put in charge of Cartoon A?
    We know why, of course: the product is “you know… for kids”—so someone high up in the food chain wants to have fun reimagining things, from the perspective that only a nerdy adult would care. But let’s look at the flip side: from a business perspective, this is incredibly bad brand management. Period.
    The Garfield movie and Donald Duck’s QUACK PACK are two more examples: though successful in the short term (like the first CASPER movie), they casually threw out so many elements of the characters’ established mythologies that they don’t seem to have helped merchandising or encouraged lasting fandom—in the case of QUACK PACK, foreign licensees were shocked at how casually their highly valued Donald Duck brand had been transformed.
    Casper, join the club…

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    You know, I like when modern animators decide to breathe life into old characters. My own limited experience is that, even if kids really go for the new incarnation, they aren’t likely to latch onto the classic thing, and that is unfortunately what i’m hoping they’ll do. The marketers can’t just realize that adults alone are the ones who are eagerly seeking out restored old cartoons from the first golden age. I know I sound like a broken record, but the *ONLY* way that Classic Media is ever going to give the good stuff a new charge is to do just that–restore the old material, with all its inconsistencies and faults and naivete, and the fans will come; talk will happen on this and other toon forums and the fans will become excited. Just look at the buzz around WOODY WOODPECKER AND FRIENDS and POPEYE 1933-1938! We’re psyched and there doesn’t have to be some kid flick to promote it!!

  • Esn

    “Hey, it’s for kids”

    I see this a lot among Western animators and animation fans, and I think it’s flat out wrong. I much prefer the approach taken by Russian animators throughout most of the Soviet period (which still persists somewhat to this day), who believed that in creating works for children you take on a very special and important responsibility.

    In other words, such a film should not be merely “like the adult stuff but with all the good bits taken out”. You can this philosophy still in action in some films from the region, for example this very interesting 1997 film from Belarus:

    Sorry for going off-topic a bit. :p