The Gran Turismo Movie Does Not Look Promising

gran turismo movie
The Gran Turismo Movie Does Not Look PromisingSony Pictures Entertainment - YouTube

Movies and TV shows inspired by video games are big right now, and a Gran Turismo movie is on its way. Sony Pictures Entertainment just released the first trailer for the Orlando Bloom and David Harbour-starring film, and, uh, we're apprehensive.

The film is based on the story of Jann Mardenborough, a graduate of the GT Academy, a program from GT and Nissan that sought to develop real-world racing talent out of Gran Turismo players. Mardenborough was the third and youngest graduate of GT Academy, whose greatest success was a third place finish in the LMP2 class at Le Mans in his 2013 debut along with a few wins in junior series like GP3 and Japanese Formula 3.


Bloom plays Danny Moore, based on Darren Cox, the Nissan executive who dreamed up the GT Academy, while Harbour plays Jack Salter, a driver coach. The story looks very formulaic. Mardenborough's character is a gamer who dreams of racing despite not having the financial means to pursue motorsport; Cox is the excitable executive trying to convince Salter to take the gamers seriously; when Mardenborough finally gets to a motorsport grid, he has a rival who's also dismissive of gamers; there's some sort of love-story element, and a CGI crash at Le Mans.

Moreover, it reads like an ad for Gran Turismo, and not a good one. It's pushing the narrative that the game is more than just a mindless diversion, that it deserves to be taken seriously. This isn't really the case today. Of course, Gran Turismo is not a full-on simulator like iRacing, but I don't think anyone's dismissing it as a pointless diversion. The series is over 25 years old, and many of its titles are among the best selling PlayStation games of all time. It's also a game that has valuable partnerships with automakers—notably Toyota now—and a huge E-Sports presence.

This isn't to say that Mardenborough's story itself isn't inherently interesting. But just juding on the trailer, it doesn't appear that it's not being told with much nuance or depth. As a massive Gran Turismo fan, I'm hoping to be wrong about all this, but I'm not optimistic. We'll find out for certain in August.

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