Covering a historic phrase from the world of football, Formula 1 is a sport that the English invented, pilots race and Max Verstappen always wins. The premier class of motorsport is going through some delicate moments due to the logical lack of interest that any sport or activity arouses in which, before starting, we already know who is going to win.
For this reason, there are not a few wheel lovers who are opening up to new categories far from Formula 1, or who directly look for the lost emotion in video games and simracing. In this sense (and almost the only one, immersed in the middle of Hurricane Barbenheimer and with the actors’ strike even affecting its release date in the United States), ‘Gran Turismo‘ arrives at the optimal moment to channel our frustration with two and a quarter hours of action at the highest level and constant references to the video game to whom we have spent so many hours throughout our lives. And although it complies with one and the other, throughout the film we again have in mind precisely the person we wanted to forget about: Max Verstappen.
And not because the main antagonist of the film is an impetuous young man with a toxic father who could well lead us to the 2017 Max. Nor because Geri Halliwell, former Spice Gil and wife of Christian Horner, director of Red Bull Racing, appears. We think of him because ‘Gran Turismo’, despite being based on a different competition, is just as predictable as the current Formula 1 dominated by Verstappen.
David Harbor, driver of the day
Under the direction of Neill Blomkamp, who leaves science fiction aside to immerse himself in a true story that is radically different from what we are used to, ‘Gran Turismo’ is above all a sports overcoming film, to solve all the potholes on the road (or the circuit) in order to fulfill a dream. The Rocky Balboa pilot version is, as we said, a real pilot, as well as much of what is told in the film.
Is about Jann Mardenborough, which was part of the GT Academy, a project created by Nissan and the video game ‘Gran Turismo’ to bring the best gamers to participate in real races. His role is played by Archie Madekwe, and in his interpretation we see a constant of what the film itself will be: moments of extreme lucidity and others easily forgettable that bring nothing new.
The trio of protagonists is completed by Danny (Orlando Bloom), Nissan’s manager of creating the GT Academy, and Jack (David Harbour), the team’s chief engineer. It is precisely Harbor who manages with his performance to arouse our interest in something other than racing. His presence in ‘Gran Turismo’ is the highlight apart from the action. As a good chief engineer, he brings an extra plus to make ‘Gran Turismo’ better: knows how to delve into drama and emotion in equal measure, and helps us empathize with Mardenborough almost more than Madekwe himself. Harbor is more than ready to sign for a team that allows him to ‘perform’ at the highest level, as they would say there. We’ll see if she’s lucky.
The bad thing about an actor becoming a ‘scene stealer’ in a movie is that in those in which he does not appear, the footage suffers to maintain the level. It happens with the main subplot, that of the father-son relationship, which it evaporates as the minutes passas if Blomkamp had realized that there wasn’t much else to scratch from. It’s not like Geri Halliwell is raising the bar with her role as mediating mother, either.. Actually, the less interesting moments tend to coincide with her on the screen. More convincing and entertaining is Mardenborough’s relationship with his crush (Maeve Courtier-Lilley).which leaves us with some compelling moments of plot respite, like the scene in Tokyo.
The races, the great jewel of the film (although clichés are repeated)
Neill Blomkamp said in the interview with eCartelera that his biggest challenge in the film had been to shoot the races the way he wanted, without CGI and with real action on the track, including the spectacular accidents that we see throughout the film and that have been part of Jann Mardenborough’s career in real life. Some, in fact, It is surprising how exactly identical they are if we take a look at YouTube.
Blomkamp has opted in ‘Gran Turismo’ for tilt the balance towards action to the detriment of wordsand his greater involvement and interest in the numerous scenes around several of the most emblematic circuits in the world can be seen. The continued use of drones It gives us a spectacular aerial perspective to follow the races from unimaginable angles, but It is in the sound section where ‘Gran Turismo’ does the rest and plunges us into a constant roar of engines that will keep novices and experts in the world of four wheels equally hooked on the screen.
If we stay with the purely technical aspect, nothing to reproach. If we scratch a little more, the seams can be seen on the races. Their development too often follows the same pattern that ends up leaving us with the feeling that they are somewhat repetitive, and sometimes realism is in the background in pursuit of the constant search for epicity. Once again, we know what’s going to happen before the green light comes on.
Normal things in a racing movie based on a true story of self-improvement, but even so it is an obvious missed opportunity to have offered something different at the script level with which to stand out from other films of the same cut. And idea for the next one: overtaking cars like they’ve turned the game down to a minimum takes you out of the movie more than anything else.
What about ‘Gran Turismo’ in ‘Gran Turismo’?
If you’ve come this far, you’re either a fan of how I write (which I doubt) or you’re really interested in the film because you’re part of the ‘Gran Turismo’ community and you don’t know whether to give it a chance. Then, I recommend you do it.
In the first 10-15 minutes it’s hard to tell if the movie has already started or it’s a long promo for the game, so you’ll feel right at home. From there, it is true that the film begins to follow its own path and becomes more detached from ‘Gran Turismo’, but the winks to the saga are constant: from that aerial view of the car, to how they announce the position in which Jann is at the end of a lap, going through many others that you will see during the film.
Also, as a gamer, you too have probably had to put up with comments from your parents or other influential people criticizing the time you spend playing as useless. In that sense, Blomkamp hits the nail on the head by focusing part of the argument on that slab that every player has had to endure at some point in his life.so you will feel identified.
From there, there will be elements that more or less add up to you, but despite its comings and goings, the pace of the film is agile enough not to get heavy at any time. In fact, it goes by fast. Of course, get ready to remember Max Verstappen, the king of the predictable.
‘Gran Turismo’ opens In theaters Friday, August 11.
The best: Certain stretches of brilliance in the script, David Harbor and how the races are directed
Worst: The family story doesn’t quite engage and the whole movie is too predictable, even the races.