Starring: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Cathy Moriarty and Eric Idle
Universal Pictures Video
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: PG
Available now

Ghost therapist Dr. James Harvey and his daughter Kat arrive at drafty, old Whipstaff Manor. Its greedy owner, Carrigan Crittendon, has hired Dr. Harvey to exorcise the house's apparitions: a friendly but lonely young ghost named Casper, who's just looking for a friend, and his outrageous uncles Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso. If the plan works, Crittendon and Dibs, her partner-in-crime, can get their hands on the manor's fabled treasure...

Casper is one of those movies that I have always thought was very underrated. As family entertainment goes, Casper has got pretty much everything. There are great special effects, a comedy Brit villain (Eric Idle), some fantastic comedy moments and an overly sentimental ending. There are also some great cameos - including Clint Eastwood, Dan Ackroyd and Mel Gibson, but it is the then 14 year old Christina Ricci who steels the show.

It differs from most children's movies in that it never patronises its young audience. It manages to tackle death and physical attraction between teenagers without being overly judgmental.

So, I was really pleased to hear that Universal was to release this title and was looking forward to the extras that would be included. And for £15 you can't grumble - especially when you consider that there is also a DTS surround track as well (which incidentally sounds great).

There is a commentary by the director, which really is fascinating; Revealing Casper - an interesting behind the scenes documentary which lasts for more than 46 mins; a deleted musical sequence that featuring a previously unreleased song (Lucky Enough To Be A Ghost); and DVD ROM extras - funhouse activities and games with printable components. There are also two games which are accessed using the DVD remote control. One of these is a spelling test (with no reward) and the second is a game where you have to hunt down Casper's toys, which are hidden on various menu screen. This has a reward, but is rather dull.

The feature and commentary are very interesting, but the other extras are fairly dull. But you can't complain. The film is only £16 and well worth it!

It will make you laugh, cry (if you have a soul) and glad to be alive! A wonderful, feel good, family movie.

Amber Leigh

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