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So, the ‘Gran Turismo’ movie actually has a brilliant idea going for it

By May 3, 2023No Comments3 min read
Archie Madekwe stars in Columbia Pictures GRAN TURISMO. Photo by: Gordon Timpen

Sony just dropped the first trailer for Gran Turismo, and if your first thought when you heard about this movie was “Those games had a plot?” then you’re not alone. The series, which began back in 1997, became a staple of the PlayStation experience and an absolute must-play for car enthusiasts. A movie isn’t exactly what many fans like me had in mind for the future of the IP, but well here we are.

Before watching the trailer, I didn’t even know who directed it. I assumed it would take place in the world of the game, maybe something along the lines of 2014’s Need for Speed. Remember that movie? It starred Aaron Paul? Anyway, after checking out the trailer and letting it sink in, I’m now both surprised and slightly intrigued by the lane they chose.

See the trailer for yourself if you haven’t, already:

Done? Got it? Good, let’s discuss.

So the two biggest takeaways jumping out to me in this trailer are literally written on the screen. The first being that Gran Turismo is based on a true story about a fan of the game series who used skills he acquired by playing all the games to be selected for an actual racing gig. That’s just…wild. I never thought that this film would be anything more than a generic racing movie with fast cars, explosions, and cheesy one liners. But already it’s aiming to be so much more.

The other somewhat shocking reveal is who directed the movie. Turns out it’s Neill Blomkamp, who made a huge splash with his feature debut District 9 in 2009, then made three far less successful sci-fi films (Elysium, Chappie, and Demonic) after being in the wings to do the next big Alien movie. That obviously didn’t work out, and given his 14 years of experience as a director of sci-fi films (Demonic being more of a sci-fi horror, to be clear), it’s an interesting choice to hire him for what is essentially Ford v Ferrari with a bigger budget.

Racing scene from Columbia Pictures GRAN TURISMO. Photo by: Gordon Timpen

A real line-up of a cast.

As far as what we actually see in the trailer, there are plenty pulse-pounding racing sequences. Fans can enjoy references and easter eggs for the games and all things PlayStation. Uncharted and more recently HBO’s phenomenal series The Last of Us have been huge wins for Sony. This shows in their confidence to give Gran Turismo a sizable budget and star-studded cast. Speaking of which, we have a solid group of actors, here. Archie Madekwe (Midsommar), David Harbour (Violent Night), Orlando Bloom (Legolas himself!), and Djimon Hounsou (Shazam!) are just a few.

Sony and PlayStation Productions clearly have no problem getting some big-name talent for their projects. And the film looks to both capitalize on the nostalgia we all have for the early PlayStation days. But also the huge advancements in gaming and cars we see in our world today. This might just be a new recipe for what a memorable “video game movie” can be. Even against strong competition like The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it looks like Gran Turismo might be able to carve out its own fast lane to box office success.

Gran Turismo races into theaters on August 11, 2023.

Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Tyler Carlsen

From a young age, Tyler has been amazed by filmmaking and writing. When he’s not watching movies in theaters, he also enjoys playing video games and binging one of the numerous shows he’s watching at any given moment. Working with The Young Folks was a highlight of his writing career and he is looking forward to this new adventure with In Between Drafts!

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