Casper the friendly ghost, as he is famous for introducing himself in this child-friendly movie about death, grieving, and the concept of life after death. Casper gives us a husband who has not accepted the loss of his beloved wife and has destroyed his reputation and his and his daughter’s lives trying to reconnect with his wife after her death. He becomes a ghost psychiatrist and focuses on helping those spirits with “unfinished business” tie up loose ends from their human lives and move on…or so we’re told. I find this to be a little ironic given his fearful reaction to being confronted by the ghosts that haunt the abandoned mansion that he moves he and his daughter into. If he has rededicated his life to helping ghosts move on…then why is he so afraid of them at first? shrugs
Moving on…One thing I was wondering is how Casper and his three uncles all ended up dead and turned into ghosts. My suspicion is that the uncles, as unlikeable as they are, were all murdered in a single “accident” possibly also in search for this alleged fortune that Kat’s aunt was also after.
I did not remember much about this movie from my childhood and had wondered if they ever said what killed Casper in the first place. While we do learn that Casper perished from a mysterious disease after he was taken sledding by his father, we never do find out what Casper’s unfinished business is. I was thinking, at first, that he had always dreamed of finding love or having a real friend, until we get to the end of the movie and he’s danced with Kat (or Cat, who the hell knows how she spells it?) and he turns back into a ghost and the movie ends and you’re still left wondering what in the hell he didn’t do in life that kept haunting him after death. It is possibly the simple fact that Casper died as a child and had so many things left to do in his life, which was cut very short by his death.
I did notice that although both of Casper’s parents died, neither of them became ghosts. I suspect that Casper’s father completed his mission of creating an invention to bring back the dead, which also implies that Casper’s father also believed in the existence of ghosts. From what we can see in the movie, his Lazarus machine only works on ghosts, which says to me that Casper might also have stuck around to be with his father, who also ruined his reputation by letting his obsession with bringing his son back from the dead take over his life and work. It’s impossible not to notice this similarity with Kat, whose own father did the exact same thing and who also lost her mother.
After an hour of really depressing, “let’s talk about our dead mothers” stories and bonding between the living and the undead, we finally get to see Kat’s mother who shows herself after Casper sacrifices his only chance to be brought back to life in order to save Kat’s grieving, drunk, recently dead, ghost father. An act of love and compassion for it is clear to us that Kat needs her father and has no one else to take care of her and, if you’re really paying attention, you also realize that she had become an orphan when her father died. This is something I do not remember noticing from my childhood and hurt my goddamn feelings when it occured to me during last night’s viewing. Let me also point out that, although Kat’s father’s death was a drunken accident, it occurs when he drinks far too much and is talking about his wife. This further tells me just how intense his grieving process has been and this scene where he opens up to Casper’s three ghost uncles is very validating for him as, these ghosts (and Kat) are the only ones in the world who do not think he is crazy.