In the mid-‘90s, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was one of the movies to lead the charge into CGI effects work. But believe it or not, there was another movie that came shortly after that particular walk in the park that had more CGI in just one scene than Spielberg’s film had in its entirety. That movie was director Brad Silberling’s Casper.
Revealed by Brad Silberling himself during a watch party this week, the Casper director revealed this fact on Twitter as follows:
The Casper scene in question happens between the titular friendly ghost, his three uncles known as “The Ghostly Trio” and the Harvey family, played by Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman. In their first breakfast together as unwilling housemates, there’s a lot of tension between ghost and human alike. As if things weren’t funny enough, a small sequence involving sunlight “melting” The Ghostly Trio leads to a big sight gag.
It’s a moment that still ranks as one of the most memorable scenes from the 1995 family classic, and getting this bit of context is pretty thrilling. Knowing that the entire kitchen sequence from Casper has more CGI shots than all of Jurassic Park is quite intimidating.
But what’s even more outrageous is the fact that it was the first set that Casper shot on, with Brad Silberling and his team taking a full year and a half of post-production to work out the melting gag alone! If that doesn’t speak to how much CGI was in its infancy at the time, nothing honestly ever will.
With those facts in mind, take a look at the kitchen scene from Casper in this clip straight from the film:
While Casper has more CGI work than Jurassic Park ever laid claim to, it was the dinosaur romp based on the best-selling book by Michael Crichton that became the standard bearer of movie magic. To this day, it’s hard not to see how well the CGI has held up in that particular film, especially when it’s mixed in with quite a bit of practical effects work.
That’s probably why this particular fact hits so surprisingly. While both films had their share of practical and digital effects, Casper worked more consistently with CGI characters, and had a handful of ghosts to thank for it. Still, at the end of the day, the job was done by those beautiful magicians at ILM, and they even got an IHOP breakfast out of the deal. Thankfully, there was probably less of a cleanup effort involved after that particular feast, as they were all still humans who could process food.
Casper is currently available to rent or buy through major digital retailers, and will be on Netflix’s streaming library at the beginning in June.