The trend of adapting popular video games into films GRAN TURISMO continues to thrive, captivating studios and moviegoers alike.
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These adaptations seek to translate the essence of beloved video games to the big and small screens, offering a fresh perspective on the gaming world. Sony, specifically through PlayStation, has carved a unique niche in this realm, successfully transitioning iconic games to new mediums. Their efforts span across various genres, from action-adventure to RPGs, with adaptations like Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Ratchet & Clank, and Resident Evil, among others. Sony’s ventures extend beyond film, with TV shows like HBO’s The Last of Us and Peacock’s Twisted Metal. Now, Sony Pictures, under PlayStation Productions, alongside director Neil Blomkamp, ventures into the world of Gran Turismo. This movie, based on a video game series dating back to 1997, explores whether it can blend elements of “true story” drama with video game nuances or if it loses its way in a predictable underdog narrative.
THE STORY ABOUT GRAN TURISMO
Jann Mardenbourgh (Archie Madewe), growing up in Cardiff, dedicates his life to the world of video games, particularly the “Gran Turismo” series. He finds solace and escape from reality in these digital simulations. Jann’s unwavering commitment to mastering every track and car customization disappoints his father, Steve (Djimon Hounsou), a former soccer player who yearns for his son to take life more seriously. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) serves as a Nissan marketing manager, striving to promote car usage. He devises a plan with Nissan executives to launch a contest using the “Gran Turismo” platform, inviting gamers to test their skills in professional racing. To oversee the event and coach the participants, Danny recruits ex-racer Jack Salter (David Harbour), a gruff and cynical engineer who harbors low expectations for the aspiring racers. Jann earns an opportunity to chase his dream, thrusting him into the competition. He faces doubters, naysayers, and the intense world of professional racing. With Jack by his side and rival driver Nicholas Capa (Josha Stradowski) as his adversary, Jann becomes the center of attention, securing a spot to drive for Nissan in the pro leagues and experiencing the real dangers of the sport.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
Adapting a property from one medium to another is a challenging endeavor, fraught with potential pitfalls. The transition can result in a flop, lacking the unique qualities that made the source material beloved. Video game adaptations have encountered mixed success over the years, often burdened by the “video game movie” curse. However, these translations remain fascinating, offering a unique cinematic perspective on iconic characters and scenarios. PlayStation’s foray into adaptations presents a mixed bag, with highlights like the Tomb Raider movies and Final Fantasy entries, as well as misses like Uncharted. Ratchet & Clank struck a balance, although it leaned more towards characteristic elements than storytelling. Resident Evil boasts a dedicated following, despite differing opinions on the film franchise. Recent streaming platforms have breathed new life into video game adaptations, with HBO’s The Last of Us receiving acclaim and others in development, hinting at ambitious cinematic takes on beloved games.
Enter Gran Turismo, a 2023 biographical sports drama that not only serves as a video game adaptation but also draws from a true story. This unique combination captured my curiosity. While I am a casual gamer, I had only recently started playing Gran Turismo 7 on the PS5 and found it quite enjoyable. Thus, the announcement of a Gran Turismo movie piqued my interest. I hadn’t seen the trailers or knew the cast, so I was intrigued by how a full-length feature film could capture the essence of a racing simulation video game. The fact that it was inspired by a real-life gamer’s journey to become a race car driver added an extra layer of appeal.