LOOKER (1981)


Looker (1981)

Actors: Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey, Leigh Taylor-Young, Dorian Harewood
Director: Michael Crichton
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs:
Warner Home Video

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: English
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Introduction and commentary by Michael Crichton
  • First-time widescreen video release
  • Theatrical trailer



In this early 1980s flick written and directed by Michael Crichton (author of Jurassic Park, Congo and Sphere) the patients of a well-known Beverley Hills plastic surgeon played by Albert Finney are being killed off one by one.

Soon the Finney character is embroiled in a plot involving a huge multinational corporation prophetically named Digital Matrix (!) and its plan to control the minds of unsuspecting television watchers by using computer-generated actresses in ads instead of real-life ones.

Despite its many flaws Looker actually makes for interesting viewing in that some of its science fiction became science fact, in particular the notion of digitally-produced actors seems quite visionary for a flick made more than a quarter of a century ago. What else might Crichton have gotten right? Not the wacky light guns that causes temporary disorientation and results in time loss for its targets one hopes. They seem quite useless as weapons (you can't shoot anyone in the back for instance) even though they make for truly (intentionally) funny fight scenes in the movie.

THE DISC: This is apparently the first home video presentation of the film in its original 16x9 2.4:1 aspect ration instead of a cropped pan ?n? scan. There is a short introduction by Michael Crichton as well as an audio commentary by the write/director. Crichton however comes across as too somnambulant and the talk is on the dull side. Not Crichton's fault though, but the situation would have been alleviated if he had perhaps been joined by someone else - perhaps one or two of the actors involved in the movie - in his talk.

WORTH IT? Looker has dated badly, not just in its fashions and its hairstyles, but also in the annoying sub-Giorgio Moroder synth score employed and the film's sluggish pacing. (Even director Crichton admits in his audio commentary that he would have paced the film differently had he made it today.)

RECOMMENDATION: Still, the flick throws up one or two interesting ideas and concepts that would interest science fiction fans and make it worth their while.



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