There is a strong case to be made that we are currently at the start of a golden age of video game adaptations. In recent years, we’ve seen incredible video game movies like POKEMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU, UNCHARTED, and most recently, THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE, and it looks like the trend is still picking up steam.
In August, GRAN TURISMO, Neill Blomkamp’s biographical coming-of-age sports drama will turn one of the most beloved and prolific racing video game series of all time into a movie about a young video gamer who competes for a spot in a real race. And judging by what we’ve seen in the movie’s debut trailer, the movie looks both intense and empowering, with drama and high-octane action both on and off the track.
After watching the GRAN TURISMO trailer, we have some thoughts about the action and drama that unfolded in its nearly three-minute runtime, which will hopefully be a sign of things to come when the movie comes to AMC Theatres this August.
The Story Of An Aspiring Driver
Like other inspirational and empowering sports dramas, GRAN TURISMO will focus on a young aspiring driver named Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) as he attempts to make his dream come true of getting behind the wheel of a race car. This is front and center throughout the trailer, including the opening seconds in which Jann has a tense conversation with his father, played by Djimon Hounsou, who tries to explain the dangers and the cost of professional racing.
But as was the case for the real Jann Mardenborough more than a decade ago, the movie version of the empowering sports figure won’t take the conventional path to becoming an unforgettable racing legend. As the trailer depicts, with little to no training behind the wheel of an actual car that can reach speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour, Jann puts his skills with the “Gran Turismo” games to good use. By entering the GT Academy Competition, an annual contest between the world’s best players to see who’s the quickest and most talented at the popular racing simulation, the aspiring race car driver finds his path to glory.
A Global Video Game Competition
The GT Academy Competition featured in GRAN TURISMO is spearheaded by Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom), a marketing executive based on Darren Cox, the real-life founder of the ESports program, who wants to see what the best virtual drivers can do on the race track. Only one competitor will earn a spot in a real-life race car, but they won’t be able to do much without the experience and expertise of Jack Salter (David Harbour), a coach who doesn’t have all that much faith in the program, or the candidates.
The trailer offers glimpses at the competition, including the Esports athletes’ training program, the physical and mental toll of driving in a car in which the temperature reaches 140 degrees, and the constant head-butting by Cox and Salter over the legitimacy of having “couch-surfing nerds” enter an actual professional race. And while most of the prospective drivers don’t have what it takes, Jann Mardenborough sticks out, proving he’s more than just a video gamer, but instead a natural and incredibly gifted driver. However, winning the GT Academy Competition is just half of Jann’s journey to making his dreams come true. And it just might be the easiest part of the entire experience.
Intense Racing Action
Jack Salter provides a line in the GRAN TURISMO trailer that highlights the difference between racing in a simulator and racing on an actual track: “If you miss the line in the game, you reset; if you miss it on the track, you could die.” And that danger is shown in great detail in the second half of the trailer, with footage of a gnarly crash that turns a high-powered race car into a rolling fireball.
The trailer also shows Jann Mardenborough’s tremendous talent behind the wheel of a car, as scenes cut from him in a racing simulator to the track he's driven on 1,000 times in the simulator. This skill, and his dedication to being the best, is enough to win over his team and make a believer out of Jack. But the same can’t be said for his stiff competition, drivers who don’t think he belongs.
But Jann will set out to prove to the more established drivers that not only does he belong in the world of professional racing, he has what it takes to beat the best and be the best with unmatched raw skills and that inextinguishable fire in his heart.
As you can probably tell by now, the GRAN TURISMO trailer has us incredibly excited for what the video game adaptation has in store for us when it opens in AMC Theatres nationwide this summer.GRAN TURISMO opens August 11th