Portal: No Escape

Remember that time that Valve made that nifty little gem of a game called Portal? Well, somebody did. And they made a web-short about it. And yeah, it’s awesome.

Vital Signs

Type: Sci-fi Short

Runtime: 6m58s

Portal: No Escape is only one of a myriad of web shorts based on the Portal video games. Seriously, once you open the link you’ll see that there’s dozens of other high quality productions based on the game, and that’s really a testament to the fact that Portal 1) was an awesome game; and 2) had a great storyline. No Escape’s premise is:

A woman wakes up in a room with no memory of who she is or how she got there…

Yep, that’s it. If you’ve played the game you’ll know that this is basically a live-action version of the opening. If you haven’t played… well, now you know. So, let’s get into it.

Characterisation (10/10)

This entire short basically hung on two things, one of which was how well our main character carried the story. Five minutes isn’t a whole heck of a lot of time to get a character across on screen. However, it is unfortunately more than enough to completely muck up a story.

Thankfully, our unnamed heroine (who is probably actually Chell, the player character from the game) used her five minutes to great effect. She (Chell) manages to get across her patience, organisation, physical prowess and, ultimately, her desolation all in the space it usually takes me to just roll off of my bed in the morning. This is impressive for all sorts of reasons, not least being that – despite the fact she actually has nowhere to go – she doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting out of bed in the morning, unlike some of us.

Visual FX (10/10)

Budgets are nice things. Talented VFX crews are priceless. This short appears to have had both. I would say something grandiose about how the portals looked like gateways into the abyss and whatnot… but that would be lying. They looked cool. Like, really cool. As in – if I’d ever tried to imagine what the portal gun would create in the real world then this short would pretty much have been it.

I really can’t express well enough how on point the VFX were for this. Oh, and the portal gun looks pretty awesome as well.

Overall (9/10)

I know what you’re thinking: is your mathematics different to our mathematics? It should be 10/10.

Yes, it should be 10/10.

No, it is not 10/10 because Portal just isn’t the same without hearing GLADoS’ voice tell you not to look into the operational end of the device.

Portal No escape
She looked directly into the operational end of the device. I’m so upset.

Also, there was no cake.

Recommendation: This is a nice little flash in the pan for when someone tells you “I’ll be back in 5 minutes” and for some weird reason they are actually the type of person who comes back after 5 minutes. It’s got a good mix of ‘oh snap, that looks so cool’ and ‘look upon the desolation of humanity and tremble’.

Watch Portal: No Escape on Youtube here.

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