Rest and Relaxation are a vital part of our productivity and our economy, it can be a reprieve to let your hair down, especially when you’re a seasoned mascot with a successful feature film behind you. A vacation to spice things up is just what the doctor ordered. To spice things up, after establishing his origins, famed producer Haim Saban decided to send the friendly ghost on holiday and introduce him to some new friends in 1998’s Casper Meets Wendy.
After a successful haunting, the Ghostly Trio decides it is time for a vacation to the sunny resort complex, they allow Casper, the titular friendly ghost, to accompany them as well. Meanwhile, Three-point five witches go into hiding after an evil warlock wants to turn them into “Pumpkin Guts” and choose the same resort to lie low. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, except for the fact ghosts and witches hate each other, Casper, bucking the trend by being a friendly ghost, also bucks the trend by becoming smitten with the young witch, Wendy. The two get involved in many mishaps as they try to deal with whatever this vacation throws at them, from obnoxious guests to the evillest warlocks that the world has ever known.
A lot of the cast returns from the 1995 Casper film such as Cathy Moriarty, the scheming aunt is back… as another aunt. But one of the most notable additions would have to be the introduction of future Disney star Hillary Duff as the eponymous Wendy. She’s by far given the best lines, and she adds a certain charm to them and demonstrates the early stages of her personality that audiences would grow to enjoy in Lizzie McGuire. The film carries on Casper’s impressive record of cameos new and old. Ben Stein is back, but in this sequels case, he’s joined by ironically named Starship Troopers star Casper Van Dien. These cameos and guest actors are utilised well and work to accompany the main players like George Hamilton’s villainous Desmond Spellman, and his two Pulp Fiction spoofing henchmen.
Those who also know of the name Saban would also know of Saban & Levy and the terrific scores and soundtracks that the duo has contributed over the years, the same is true here. The mood music that fills the scenes not only repurpose the classic themes from the animated shorts, but also injects the film with a menagerie of montages and peppy modern pop rock to the mix. Making the film ultimately feel light-hearted the sunny resort also aides this feeling with its pools, arcades, and dance halls just multiply the feeling of fun.
Casper Meets Wendy follows the trend of the previous films but applies some fresh ideas to the mix of creepy ghosts and ghoulish comedy, a winning combination for any family sequel and works exceptionally well here. What we get here is an exploration of what happens to Casper when he and his friends take a break, but in doing so manages to break the idea that direct-to-video sequels can’t be enjoyable too.
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