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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer

Charlie's Ghost

Force Entertainment/Force Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Anthony Edwards does Mark Twain? No, I'm not working on my Beck lyrics, I'm talking about Charlie's Ghost.

In 1994, Anthony Edwards (yes, he of E.R. fame) took it upon himself to give cinematic birth to what one assumes must be his favourite Mark Twain tale, the story of Coronado's Ghost. The result was Charlie's Ghost, quite a pleasant little family flick that, apparently, went almost completely unseen by anyone, anywhere. Case in point, following his directorial debut with Charlie's Ghost, Anthony Edwards went on to direct absolutely nothing else. It's a bit of a shame really, the film isn't that bad and if allowed to blossom, Edwards could have proved to be quite a competent comedy/family filmmaker. Still, one supposes he could pull a Terence Malick on us and undertake another project by the end of 2010.

Charlie (Trenton Knight) is forced to move into a new home after his father makes an important archaeological discovery. Understandably, Charlie is none too pleased with this. Not only did the young lad have to leave his school and all his friends behind, but his father Dave (Anthony Edwards) seems even more unavailable now than when he was hundreds of miles away, leaving Charlie primarily under the strict regime of his new nanny, Marta (Linda Fiorentino). The bones that his father has uncovered, however, will have more of an impact on Charlie's life than he could possibly have imagined, for Dave has uncovered the remains of the legendary conquistador, Coronado (Cheech Marin).

One night, Charlie comes face to face with the ghost of Coronado, who insists that Charlie help him to restore his peaceful rest and bury his bones on hallowed ground. Naturally, the spectre of Coronado soon begins to fill the gaps in Charlie's life where his father ought to, and his quest soon begins to focus on repairing their relationship as well as finding eternal rest.

What follows is fairly standard family fodder. There are some wacky ghost shenanigans and its heart is certainly in the right place. Unfortunately, it also reeks of the amateur. Funnily enough, the only thing that really makes Charlie's Ghost worthwhile viewing is Cheech Marin, which certainly has to be the first time he can claim to have been the main attraction without resorting to drug humour. Otherwise, there's not much else that the film has to offer. Watching the child actors in the film conjures up creepy images of Degrassi High and Linda Fiorentino's accent sounds more like a camp KGB agent than a foreign nanny. If one can get past the many, often unavoidably cheap, shortcomings though, then there is an enjoyable film within Charlie's Ghost. There's a certain charm there, that's for sure.

  Video
Contract

Quite surprisingly, considering the super-low key nature of this release, the video transfer here is comparatively decent. It is a 1.85:1 presentation with a level of detail that is actually very decent. While the colour reproduction is a tad pale from time to time, the relatively minor lack of film artefacts and grain more than makes up for this.

  Audio
Contract

Only a Dolby Digital stereo track has been provided for Charlie's Ghost, but again, it's a relatively pointless complaint. Never, not even in backwards land where the best is the worst and the worst is the best, would anybody bother mixing Charlie's Ghost for 5.1 surround.

All things considered, most of the film sounds just fine, with the exception of dialogue levels. Certain scenes are a tad difficult to decipher, most often sounding a little too thin and distorted. However, it seems as though these dialogue problems were in the print to begin with, so it makes the complaint even more void than it already is.

  Extras
Contract

Just the single, crappy Theatrical Trailer here unfortunately, which only makes the viewer think harder about which cinema, if anywhere, that this trailer ever even ran. And no, I've never seen it on VHS before either, and I've probably seen three times the weight of Texas' worth.

  Overall  
Contract

In the end, none of the above really matters, as even though the film is largely a decent watch, it's just too unimportant for anyone to really bother. However, if you're feeling adventurous and are somehow super-keen on the idea of Charlie's Ghost, then you could do a lot worse than picking this up. Who knows? You could be an avid supporter of Anthony Edwards work, and in that case Charlie's Ghost would be essential.


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      And I quote...
    "...quite a pleasant little family flick that, apparently, went almost completely unseen by anyone, anywhere."
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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