12 December 2015

TV DVD Review: "The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper": Volume One

Rated: Not Rated
Starring: Malachi Pearson, Kath Soucie, and Brad Garrett
Released: February - March 1996 (original TV premieres) / September 18, 2007 (DVD)
Synopsis: In this continuation of the 1995 smash-hit film, Casper the Friendly Ghost gets into some crazy adventures! With his troublesome uncles, Stinkie, Stretch, and Fatso, constantly on his case, it's tough being a friendly ghost...but, he has his human friends Kat and Dr. Harvey there for support! In these five episodes, Casper enters a "spooking bee," Dr. Harvey and the Ghostly Trio encounter Bigfoot, and Kat goes on what seems to be a date...but is it?
Features the voice work of Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and voice legend Dan Castellaneta.

The Good: The animation in these five episodes is really good; the transparency effects for the ghosts are very well-done.  Despite being based on the 1995 movie, the content is actually cleaner: no actual profanity, less scariness, a more cheerful atmosphere.  A few moments within this set made me smile and chuckle.

The Bad: As cute as this is, it also has some disappointing parts as well.  Each episode is divided into three sections, but the middle part is usually either a song or a weird narration piece.  The tunes are somewhat reminiscent of VeggieTales' Silly Songs with Larry, but none of them are as iconic as "The Hairbrush Song" or "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything".  The English subtitles seem to have been done a bit lazily, as well.  Probably the most disappointing aspect is that this is merely part of the first season; why couldn't they have released it in its entirety?

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Kissing, flirting; totally innocent romance. Some of the male ghosts dress in female clothing as a joke. 4/5
  • Nudity: None. 5/5
  • Language: Usage of terms such as "heck" and "jeez"; nothing worse. 4/5
  • Violence: Entirely cartoony, slapstick, and played for laughs. 4/5
  • Drugs: None. 5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: A mildly scary moment every now and again. 4/5
  • Other: Like the movie itself, these episodes poke fun at death, which could be a sensitive subject for some viewers. 4/5
Conclusion: One of the first movies I remember seeing at the theater was the 1995 live-action Casper flick; after that, I saw it several times on video, including once at a friends' house.  Though I liked it back then, now, the movie depresses me, because it focuses on death, which every adult knows is no joke.  Still, I decided to give the series a chance, and I mostly liked it; it was happier and more cutesy than the film that inspired it.  While it wasn't perfect, it was still moderately enjoyable; let's hope the second volume improves things a bit.

Score: 3.5/5

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