Well I can say honestly I never heard of this movie before or the book it was based on. I sort of like it when that happens. Sometimes I keep my ear on the ground too much and I lose the sweet surprise of finding something as nice as this.
What we have here is an unapologetic kids film that does its job quite nicely without talking down to kids or a lot of smart alecky self references to mass media. It's the story of a ghostly family. They are sort of a constructed family as each died at different times and in different ways, but they work and related to each other as a family. Dad is an old time Scot warrior who had his legs cut off from him (A great looking effect by the way). Mom is one body and three heads as they were three sisters beheaded. Sister was drowned for being a witch, well for suspected being a witch, so she's always damp. Our hero is the youngest, is a daring boy who accidentally fell to his death lending him a certain flexibility. Also there's a burning skull who's sort of the crazy uncle/pet figure in the family. He doesn't say much, but he's fun to be with.
Unfortunately, our family has problems. First there are ghost hunters who use more and more high tech weapons as the decades roll on. A ghost is only safe by hiding in his house. Unfortunately, a wealthy magnate is working with the government to tear down old structures and put up brand new ones, so suddenly our family is without their spooky home.
Now, here is where I like the movie. It could have done the same old thing you'd see on any movie on the Disney channel, but instead it makes a rather bold move. After trying to find another hiding place in an amusement park, the ghosts realize they can't hide anymore so they go straight to the top. Now after some problems and a few fights the living officially recognize the dead and try to help them cope with the world of the living. This part of the film lead to some marvelous bits like when our ghost family met with a living family as sort of an exchange program gone horribly horribly wrong. Still our hero manages to make friends with a living boy and things are looking up.
Unfortunately for our ghost family there's a secret plan and the ghost hunters aren't hanging up their ectoplasm catchers right at the moment. It's up to our hero to save the day and of course he does, but I do like the final reveal so of course I'm not going to say another word.
The movie was fun, the special effects were decent. I liked the variety of dead people. One of my favorite literally spent most of the film with a sheet over him because he was killed in bed and had nothing else on. Another poor soul had a garbage can on his head. I suppose the moral is make sure you don't die in an embarrassing fashion. Anyway, I liked the film and I think most kids would like it as well.