We found out last year that Neil Blomkamp is making a Gran Turismo movie, which was intriguingly billed not as a videogame movie, but a movie about a videogame. Now the first official teaser is here, and I can say with confidence that yes, it is definitely a movie about a videogame.
Gran Turismo tells the (surely heavily fictionalized) tale of Jann Mardenborough, who in 2011 earned the top spot in GT Academy, a reality television partnership between Sony and Nissan that ran 2008-2016. As that year's winner, he was given the opportunity to drive for Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hour endurance race. He finished third in his class, which ultimately launched him into a real-life racing career that continues to this day.
The Gran Turismo teaser has everything you'd expect from an "underdog makes good" story: A kid with a dream that won't die, a backroom operator who sees money to be made, a grizzled coach stuck in the old ways, and of course a elite, privileged, and very pretty villain determined to tear it all down just because he can.
In fact, it all seems awfully similar.
Hey, wait a minute!
The Fresh-Faced Hero
The Grizzled Coach
The Wily Manager
The Greasy Villain
That's right, Gran Turismo is Days of Thunder—there's even a "rubbin' is racin'" line in there, although I haven't quite figured out who the Michael Rooker character is just yet. The whole thing is of course mixed with a healthy dose of The Last Starfighter, another videogame wish fulfilment fantasy flick, albeit one without quite the same real-world grounding.
You remember The Last Starfighter, right?
Opinions on the Gran Turismo teaser here at PC Gamer are what a review aggregation site like Metacritic would call "mixed." Staff writer Morgan Park said it looks "pretty okay," hardware writer Jorge Jimenez is downright enthusiastic, and I think it's the film equivalent of the time two racers ended up in a footrace on a drag track because they both stalled their bikes when the light dropped: Kind of entertaining but mostly slow, awkward, and painful to watch.
Anyway, now you've seen it. Gran Turismo is set to hit the big screen sometime in August.