In recent years, film producers have given fans of popular games quite a few positive impressions. Photographing cult addresses is not as easy a task as it might seem. Neil Blomkamp’s film – above all with great pace and efficient production – rises above mediocrity, although at the same time it is not an accurate adaptation of the famous “Racing”. The original “Gran Turismo” has worked great as a driving simulator so far, and its cinematic version perfectly mimics a movie about real racing. So gamers will be somewhat happy, but motorsports fans might turn their nose up a bit. Still, it’s worth jumping into this movie machine and fastening your seat belts.
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Not often a production based on a series of games for PC and consoles can be called a “fact based movie”. So it is with “Gran Turismo”, the plot of which refers to real events. More than a decade ago, Nissan and Sony held a competition for simracers (in free translation: virtual drivers), whose share was a place in a professional team and the opportunity to compete on a real track with professionals. In this unusual way, 20-year-old Jan Mardenborough began his career as a racing driver.
It was this unlikely story that the South African director, who until now specialized mainly in science fiction cinema, came up with. In Neil Blomkamp’s film, we can trace the path that Jean (Archie Madekwe) had to overcome to switch from a gaming chair to the wheel of a modern racing car. Not an easy road, the magnitude of the difficulty of which was determined not only by the killer training sessions at the GT Academy, but also by non-sporting factors. Jan even devoted his studies to simulations, which were not approved by his parents. especially father (Djimon Hounsou), a former football player who could not understand how you can spend hours in front of a monitor screen and – in his opinion – waste your youth.
Amazing and unreal…
Fascinated by the world of virtual racing, it wasn’t easy for the boy from the start, because he had to live up to his ambitions and the expectations of his sponsors, but also prove to his relatives that he holed up in his own room for so many years had meaning and had a higher purpose. Of course, as Hollywood practice dictates, the filmmakers have attached Jean’s story with plenty of original commentary and plot twists that somewhat contradict Mardenborough’s true fate. So, just like the machines spinning on the screen, the individual elements of the plot were shifted to their extreme values.
Is it at the expense of the movie itself? Rather not necessarily, though the story, written over two hours long, occasionally bends redundant threads. The romance in particular just seems superfluous in this story and unnecessarily slows down the pace of the show. However, this is the price filmmakers consciously pay for theoretically creating a product for every viewer. Hence also in “Gran Turismo” many emotional family scenes and the relationship between the student and the master that the cinema has already dealt with in every form. Even so, it’s hard to accurately anticipate greater ambitions from entertainment filmmakers, though there is a thread with great potential in the middle of the movie. However, the creators do not have time to develop it, so they close it in a very chaotic and naive way.
Neill Blomkamp also uses a similar method, drawing on much tradition, when defining sports rivalry. Not only can you see the fact that the director didn’t have much in common with motorsports yet, but he clearly didn’t use the help of professionals either. The effect is such that real racing fans will notice not once, but not twice, more or less foolishness. For example, maneuvers on the track of our fierce racer rival, after which “in real life” he will be disqualified for at least a couple of months. However, in the movie, a player who plays dirty can start in any subsequent competition without any hitches.
“Gran Turismo”, despite its good racing sequences and excursions around the most famous tracks (from Barcelona, through the Nurburgring, to the obligatory Le Mans), loses its authenticity and fidelity to racing reality. Making up six seconds in one lap for an opponent who doesn’t leave the track and doesn’t report a car fault? Here you are. Drama in the last seconds of the last lap? duty. This is the term for cinema. The same one that kept us in suspense during the Rocky fights, although before the show everyone knew that Balboa would deliver the decisive blow in the last second of the twelfth round.
…but with full respect to the game and the players themselves
However, the angry situation will not do us any good during the presentation of “Gran Turismo”, because we must remember that, above all, it is still a movie inspired by the game. And Neil Blomkamp completely subordinates his work to the rules of this kind of entertainment. It’s devilishly amazing, with an insane pace, lots of emotions and twists. All this makes us turn a blind eye even to technical inaccuracies and plot simplifications. Indeed, sometimes you don’t even have time to see them all. Who would focus on the realities of racing when, while driving at 300 kmph, Blomkamp suddenly dismantles a race car for us to show the game mechanics and player perspective.
The filmmakers set off a raft of such visual fireworks. For car simulation lovers, play this game. There is a lot of winking at the simracers here. In fact, even the designer of “Gran Turismo,” Kazunori Yamauchi himself, appears on screen. Undoubtedly, you can feel the atmosphere and individuality of the original project here, unfortunately this is no longer a standard in the case of video mods for computer games. The creators of GT meticulously managed to inject the spirit of the game into the rigid setting of the Hollywood scene. Even if a lot of threads (like the Nissan Academy training and competition segment) are handled on the head.
The movie is uneven as are the actors, but it’s still a pleasure to watch
Minor flaws in this cinematic machine can also be seen in the sub-assembly responsible for acting. Orlando Bloom and David Harbor, while they don’t have much to play here, are pretty decent and make up for the script’s shortcomings with their cuteness alone. Harbor is particularly remarkable as a mentor to young Jean. As for Archie Madikwe, on the other hand, he’s a pretty tough guy. For most of the movie, he looks monotonous and seems overwhelmed with his acting duties. This economical game, to put it mildly, is to some extent due to the antisocial nature of Djinn himself, who, being a novice among professional drivers, moves uncertainly in this environment. In the second part of the film, both Madekwe and his character become more visible, which inflates the ratings of the young actor and finally allows him to give at least a satisfactory rating.
However, the whole scene deserves an above-average note, because few would have thought that based on “Gran Turismo” you could make a movie about something more than a racing simulator. In the meantime, we are dealing with a whole production that is trying to satisfy the tastes of not only gamers. Sure, it’s also a crisp, cleverly crafted full-length commercial for two brands: Nissan and PlayStation, but no glorification or subliminal messages here. However, there is a wealth of fun and addictive entertainment on the screen that in a few seconds accelerates to three hundred per hour.
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