Last year I took a look at Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys. It sucked. This year I wanted to do at least one Christmas article on something bad, but what? It had to be something different, that hasn’t been done to death. Then I saw in the TV listings that Casper’s Haunted Christmas was on. Cool, I loved that growing up! It was a similar to Yogi’s First Christmas (which came after) but in this one we had Yogi and company run into Casper. It was harmless fun. So I put it on, and discovered that I was mistaken. That special was Casper’s First Christmas. This was a direct to video abomination which came out back in 2000. Well, how bad could it be?

(One viewing later)

 

Aaaarrghh! This was the dumbest thing ever!

 

So let’s discuss this horrible, horrible movie. It was computer animation, and that I could live with. Sure it wasn’t Pixar level or anything but it was decent. The characters were ok, Casper is a friendly ghost who doesn’t like to scare people. The Ghostly Trio are the jerks he hangs out with who act more like normal ghosts. Ok, so what’s the plot?

 

Kibosh, the King of Ghosts or something, decrees that Casper must scare someone before Christmas Day or he will be banished to The Dark for all eternity. To make sure this happens; he confiscates the Ghostly Trio’s Scare licenses and flings them to Kriss, Massachusetts where they meet the Jollimore Family.

 

Ok, let me stop here and explain a few things. The town they go to is Kris, Mass. Um, sure. Why not. As a resident of Massachusetts I am not sure if I should be amused or offended. Offended because the people in this town are morons. The trio of ghosts can’t scare anyone until Casper does, so when they meet the people in the town they convince the residents that they are people auditioning to be ghosts in A Christmas Carol, and the people believe this! The fact they are transparent never seems to bother anyone. What’s worst is Casper befriends a little girl named Holly, who believes Casper is a snowman. A transparent, flying snowman. Oh god.

 

The town has embraced the name Kris, Mass and become the most Christmassy town in the world. I guess they were going for a Salem, Mass parallel but where Salem is a real place Kriss, Mass is a really forced pun.

 

Anyway, when Casper is unable to scare anyone, the Ghostly Trio call in Casper’s look-a-like cousin Spooky and his girlfriend Poil to do the job. However they suck at it, and are totally unable to scare anyone. Apparently no one in this town has ever heard of ghosts. Spooky convinces Holly that he is Casper, so she feels betrayed. You see she is tired of the Christmas centered town and the way her parents ignore her, a character arc which never really gets resolved.

 

Casper tried to apologize to Holly which launches into a song sequence. WHY DO MOVIES THINK IT’S SMART TO JAM A SONG IN WHEN NONE HAD APPEARED BEFORE? The song is awful, and out of step with the rest of the film. It’s so bad that at the end they do a little gag, poking fun at how cliché the tune was.

 

Casper finally reveals he is a ghost, Holly believes he is a snowman even after seeing him fly, but she decides to stay with friends with him anyway. The ghostly trio has a plan to steal all the presents for some reason, which Casper becomes aware of and works to stop with Spooky and Poli who have suddenly switched sides and want to help him out. Actually the trio are planning one massive scare and steal the presents to set this up. Fortunately Casper scares them away in such a stupid manner I am not even going to describe it.

 

This movie is so boring I had trouble paying attention to it. So we get a final showdown with Kibosh, the supreme commander ghost or something, I don’t know. The showdown gets the attention of no one in the town, which is odd you would think someone would notice a big green ghost/monster in the street. So the Trio convinces Kibosh that Casper scared them and to restore their licenses. Which he does in an end that is basically anticlimactic. Casper isn’t even involved with the final resolution. Then the family sees all the ghosts and still believes they are actors in costumes using special effects. Dumb!!!

 

I guess Casper saves Christmas but I don’t really care since we learn so little about the town or the people. He makes up with Holly and all is good. This mess ends with Randy Travis singing Deck The Halls, and he sound totally bored while singing it. Oh, and as the credits role we get outtakes because this film was just so hilarious! Right.

 

This movie is a mess. Story concepts are started and then dropped before they can be developed, the characters are uninteresting, and the Ghostly Trio gets more screen time then Casper does!

 

I think the big problem with this is that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a parody of Christmas movies? A parody of Halloween movies? They do an “It’s a Wonderful Life” gag followed by a “Psycho” gag. Then it suddenly turns into a parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”….an hour in!…. that ultimately goes nowhere. Um, yeah you can’t do both. Pick one! Is it meant to be taken seriously; they give us Holly who they try to make a strong character with a serious problem but the conflict doesn’t get enough attention. The story of Casper’s look alike just feels like they ran out of ideas and kept making it up as they went along. Even the town they are in doesn’t really get developed, we know it’s the Chrismassiest town in the world, but aside from the decorations what makes this town different than any other town around Christmas? Nothing is clever, and nothing is funny!

 

Well, I learned my lesson. Read the description before choosing to watch something. I guess it could be worst; at least it wasn’t The Legend of Frosty the Snowman. Ah, the heck with it. Next time I am going to just put on Yogi’s First Christmas!

By richb

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