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Portal At The Pictures: Lab Ratt

There's a great attention to detail here.

Portal has been a surprisingly prolific source of inspiration for many high quality products, so a short fifteen minute film based on its universe isn’t that big of a deal any more. However, what I love about Synthetic Pictures‘ Aperture: Lab Ratt (as spotted by The Sixth Axis) is how, in making a film based on Valve’s Lab Rat comic, how successfully they portray the evil of GLaDOS.

It’s interesting how the otherwise superb Portal 2 rather diminished the sense of fear that sentient robot could create. Making her pathetic, and giving us control over her, certainly created some fantastic comedy moments, but it also took away her power. The Lab Rat comic remembers that purer evil, but it’s this filmed version that really gives it back, as you see her cruelly manipulating the mind of a man diagnosed with schizophrenia in the times of Aperture’s falling apart. The words are mostly from the comic, but the delivery and the re-sequencing of the events is very smartly done.

There are some flaws, a peculiar choice of arranging shots in the first few minutes, and a couple of weaker moments, but ultimately the standard is incredibly high here. What I would have loved to see – and perhaps it could still happen – would be this lot teaming up with those who do the extraordinary indie CGI films, to create a version that doesn’t have to skip over featuring the likes of a ruined GLaDOS, or working turrets. Anyway, enjoy:

Definitely check out Synthetic’s previous Portal movie too, on the history of Aperture.

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John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run

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