So how exactly do you make a movie based on the most accurate racing simulator on the market? It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a personable story. Luckily for us and the people behind Gran Turismo, they had a ready-made story. And it’s one that fans can’t whine and complain about that “they changed it from the game!”

This time around, the story of Gran Turismo follows that of actual race-car driver Jann Mardenborough. Jann won a competition that Gran Turismo and Nissan put on that gave an actual player of the game a chance to be a driver. Of course, the movie fictionalizes some things, and adds a bit to the story, but it follows the general timeline of things that happened with the actual Jann. The film stars David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, and Archid Madekwe. Harbour plays Jack Salter, Jann’s trainer and a former driver that was forced out of the sport due to an accident. Bloom plays a fictionalized version of GT Academy founder Darren Cox.

As for the rest of the cast, there are bit characters that get some screen time but really just serve as either ways to move the plot forward or to humanize Jann. Djimon Hounsou plays his dad, Geri Halliwell plays his mom, and Maeve Courtier-Lilley plays his love interest Audrey.

Neill Blomkamp directs a script from Jason Hall and Zach Baylin. Luckily for this film, it’s got some absolutely stunning visuals to go along with the action.

The Best Part About Gran Turismo Is The Racing

That’s quite the easy statement to make about a movie involving race cars and the greatest racing simulation game out there, but it’s true. Gran Turismo is at its best when the action is on the track. Blomkamp fills the movie with stunning drone shots of the cars on tracks, the action of a race, and the aftermath of all that racing. This is one of the best-looking racing movies out there, and it’s really not close.

However, when the action leaves the track, the film does stutter a bit. The actual emotion of Jann and his family gets lost in the shuffle. Either Jann is the worst kid in the entire world, or his parents just don’t want to hear from him. After being on the road, in the GT Academy, on an actual race track, the guy gets maybe one or two phone calls from his parents. The crux of his character and his motivations are based on what the people back home will think when he fails. His dad is overbearing and doesn’t understand the whole “PlayStation thing”. That’s understandable, but we’re in a modern age. The whole plot trope of a parent being religiously against whatever their kid is doing, gets kind of tired.

More tiring is that the antagonist in the film basically devolves down to Snidely Whiplash. They’re just a generically evil douche rich kid that acts like a pompous windbag the entire movie. There’s no development or evolution, and they don’t get a resolution at the end of the film. There’s room for a possible antagonist in the film with the Nissan board that threatens to cut funding, but that never really materializes.

The film presents a bunch of obstacles for Jann, but they never really add up to anything memorable.

Luckily, The Movie Is Filled With Charisma And Charm

Some small melodramatic moments that don’t quite land and a group of antagonists that don’t end up being memorable aside, Gran Turismo sets out to do what it wanted. David Harbour gives material that would normally be cheesy and kitschy and elevates it to a believable level. He’s by far the best part of the film, lending that everyman charm he’s known for while being fiery, rough, and still gentle when needed.

The score and soundtrack for Gran Turismo is magnificent. They combine classic rock tracks with some hip-hop tunes to create something that everyone will enjoy a bit of. The score complements the movie perfectly with some nice synth-sounding tracks that add to the overall mystique of the film. The hard-driving racing scenes have a more frenetic energy combined with the score, while the more serene and subdued scenes are aided by the music.

For people who love and live cars, Gran Turismo will be perfect. It’s a car lovers’ wet dream with plenty of fast cars, some wrecks, and technical jargon about catching the edge. For others, it’s still a satisfying underdog story that happens to be true. Jann works as a character because we were all young at one point and had dreams of achieving the impossible. It taps into that youthful exuberance and gives a story that anyone can relate to.

Gran Turismo releases in theaters on August 25th, 2023.

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