Reader Pieter-Jan sent me a link to this video, riffing on the game Portal — and I thank him — but I’d already found it via Badass Digest, where Devin Faraci says:
[Filmmaker Dan] Trachtenberg isn’t even making a comment on Portal, or using Portal to address another interesting issue or idea. It’s just a straight up Portal movie. There’s no deeper thought than ‘This is what a Portal movie would look like.’
This sort of mimickry is great when you’re a kid. Lots of filmmakers riffed on their favorite movies and TV shows when they were in grade or high school. But at some point filmmakers need to make their own thing. They can be influenced by or even steal from other works they love, but they need to take those elements and transform them through their own vision. The guy who made this short isn’t a kid; he’s worked as a professional commercial director.
I agree with him. I don’t see why this is a big deal. It’s no different than, say, Skyline, my worst movie of 2010, which I decried because it was nothing but an FX showcase. That’s all this short is.