More movies about cars and racing is always a good thing in our book. The first trailer for the “Gran Turismo” movie dropped today, and while it focuses a lot on the gaming backstory, it looks like there will be a decent amount of actual wheel-to-wheel action as well.
The movie is, of course, based on the hugely popular PlayStation series of video games. Now in its seventh installation, it revolutionized the racing game world with its massive library of playable cars, digitization of real tracks, and sound effects recorded from actual exhaust notes. Unlike other recent video games that have been adapted into blockbuster movies or TV shows with actual depth, “Gran Turismo” the game doesn’t have a plot.
The movie follows the real-life story of Jann Mardenborough, a British “Gran Turismo” player who in 2011 became the youngest winner of the Nissan GT Academy. The program funnels gamers into real driver’s seats, and Mardenborough beat out 90,000 global contestants. He’s gone on to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the British GT Championships, and Formula E.
In the trailer we see what is likely a heavily dramatized version of the events. Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) faces skeptical parents, skeptical driving instructor Jack Salter (David Harbour of “Stranger Things”), and a skeptical rival who doesn’t believe gamers can really race (Josha Stradowski). About the only one who does believe in him is Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom), a marketing exec based on GT Academy head honcho Darren Cox. An obligatory love story is also wedged in there.
Since the real GT Academy was sponsored by Nissan, when Mardenborough graduates to real cars we see plenty of R35 GT-Rs, a 370Z NISMO, and a Ligier-Nissan LMP racer. Mardenborough’s rival’s car is perfectly cast as a chrome gold-wrapped Lamborghini Huracán. Background cars include an Audi R8, Porsche 911, Ferrari 458, and more.
Surprisingly, there’s no new Nissan Z, even though it seems like it would be the perfect car to include in a movie like this.
The trailer reveals almost entirely how Mardenborough will overcome the odds, not that the end would have taken a genius to guess. At the same time, motor racing is an inaccessible sport for the average consumer. While a bit formulaic, if “Gran Turismo” gets a wider audience interested in motorsports in the same way the Netflix “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” series has, we can chalk that up as a win.