‘Gran Turismo’ is a noisy boredom that is speeding away from the video game

by time news

2023-08-10 22:11:31

“This is no longer a game.” This is how it was advertised, just 30 years ago, the first real-image adaptation of a video game for the big screen. Super Mario Bros. It was an epic flop that has handily left behind the recent Illumination animated film, whose religious attachment to the Nintendo font would perhaps prove that today these complexes no longer exist. “The slogan pointed to a rooted subtext,” writes Víctor Navarro Remesal in Playing with ash about the 1993 version. “The game belongs to disposable entertainment while the cinema is serious, higher on the ladder of cultural legitimacy,” he points out.

There would no longer be a need to distinguish a movie from a video game as if the cinema were more respectable in itself: the advance of the medium, and its economic performance, have so arranged. And yet, the slogan “this is no longer a game” is heard several times in the film Grand Touring, transmitting a coarseness comparable to when we continually see characters (all of them businessmen) ensuring that anyone can “fulfill their dream”. The rhetoric of entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with the inferiority complex.

A Grand Touring, directed by Neill Blomkamp, ​​has no choice due to its approach: it is not really an adaptation of the original driving video games, but a film based on real events. The true story of Jann Mardenborough, a successful racing driver, whose career is reviewed in the film, entering the leagues of biopic beatific. With those wickerwork you can’t even criticize him, as the first movie of Super Mariowhich does not resemble the original work. Grand Touring play something else.

PlayStation Productions at the starting line

For example, to celebrate the legacy of a brand. The film as such has been running since 2013, when it was assigned to the same Joseph Kosinski who had directed TRON: Legacy and years later he would succeed at the box office with Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick. This version of the project was scrapped, however, and found no new impetus until Gran Turismo 7last year, arrived at the stores aware of the historical nature of the franchise that it came to prolong, a decade after Gran Turismo 6.

Gran Turismo 7 it emphasized its identity as the “most realistic driving simulator ever”, as well as its commitment to the Sony label. Since 1997, with the first PlayStation, each Grand Touring It has been available for each generation of this console, being the creation of the Japanese Polyphony Digital something like the flagship of Sony. It was not surprising, then, that the film could gather strength now that Gran Turismo 7 (highly rated by critics) ensured sentimental attachment to the title, and Sony had the perfect company on the payroll to handle it: PlayStation Productions.

PlayStation Productions is dedicated exclusively to the adaptation of Sony Computer Entertainment video games. This involves working closely with the original developers and engaging in strict product control, which has already led to the film Uncharted and the acclaimed series of The Last of Us for HBO. PlayStation Productions recently debuted on Peacock (a streaming affiliated with Universal and absent in Spain) the series Twisted Metal, which is also based on some driving games. Of course, very different from the proposal of Grand Touringmore tending to action and fantasy.

The same PlayStation Productions plans in the future adaptations of Horizon, Ghost of Tsushima o God of Warbeing Grand Touring a film that, as it fell into his hands, was shot at full speed. Perhaps because this company knew who to give the wheel to: Neill Blomkamp, ​​a director who had already shown an interest in video games at earlier points in his career. For example, with his shorts dedicated to Halo: a franchise where the aforementioned Kosinski had also stood out with the promotional short Halo 3: Starry Night.

An effort to turn to insiders in the medium would have put Blomkamp in the path of Sony and PlayStation Productions, but there may be other reasons. Blomkamp started his career strongly: district 9 placed him at the forefront of science fiction in 2009, around an ambitious parable about the apartheid using aliens. Just as ambitious in his futuristic depiction of the class struggle was Elysium but that was when his good critical appreciation began to falter, completely disappeared with Chappie.

It coincided with Blomkamp’s link to sagas such as RoboCop o Alienwithout anything materializing until, in 2021, the director of South African origin hit rock bottom with Demonic. This low-budget film, shot in a pandemic, was massacred by critics, leaving Blomkamp without the strength to continue trying with original stories, and desperate to find a solid performance at the box office again. He had thus become the ideal candidate for such an artifact. Grand Touringand to be controlled by the corporate power of Sony and PlayStation Productions without question.

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It is in effect Grand Touring a controlled film, which disciplinedly greases the promotional machinery inaugurated by Gran Turismo 7. According to her, the center of the film is not an attempt to give narrative to what were originally only successions of races and championships, but the GT Academy: a project by Poliphony and Sony with Nissan that in 2008 began to train expert players of Grand Touring to compete in real races. Jann Mardenborough (played by Archie Madekwe) is his most successful student, so the film chronicles his rise from gamer elite runner With hardly any consoles involved.

A movie simulation

Although Mardenborough is the total protagonist of Grand Touringmore than biopic here we witness an insanely long announcement of the benefits of the game and the GT Academy, projecting a certain image of the company (you know, the one that will make our dreams come true) without dissonance. Blomkamp could not offer them, but in the end Hollywood did: the writers’ and actors’ strike has delayed the premiere of Grand Touring in the US from August 11 to 25. In between, there will be several previews for fans.

The rules of the strike stipulate that the performers, apart from not being able to continue filming, cannot embark on promotional tours either. “The stars can’t promote the movie, but the public could,” they have said from Sony explaining the motivation behind these previews. It is doubtful if the public will want to promote this.

Actors’ strike rules prevent them from embarking on promotional tours. “But the public could”, they have said from Sony justifying the previews. It is doubtful, however, if the public will want to promote this

The most notable of the saga Grand Touring, apart from all the brands and sponsorships that have blessed his installments, is that his great attraction is photorealism. Even in the days of the first PlayStation, the cars and their physics have been beautifully designed, as well as a gameplay desperate to make us feel behind the wheel in a clear way. In this field it is possible that no other title comes close to its technical achievements, but when considering a film adaptation there are some very problematic limitations to deal with.

What’s the point of pretending to be photorealistic when there are real cars? It is a crossroads that, in a certain way, already affected the experience of The Last of Us on HBO (sickly recreating every measure of the video game), but here at least it could be alleviated with a not-so-known story. The one from Mardenborough, seconded by his trainer Jack Salter (David Harbour) and the founder of the GT Academy, Danny Moore.

Danny Moore is based on Darren Cox, the true inventor of the dog training program. gamers, and his interpretation at the hands of Orlando Bloom is one of the most irritating elements of a film full of them. Bloom, absolutely hysterical, personifies the reckless and enthusiastic businessman who is often smitten by the recent fashion of ‘biopics of product’, to which Grand Touring (although it focuses on a real pilot) it does not stop sticking.

Los biopics of product (where we would include Air o Flamin’ Hot: The Story of Spicy Cheetosfor which Eva Longoria relied on false testimonials) want to put a human face on an abstract brand, and weave inspiring stories of improvement from it. Grand Touring It is not the first videogame that passes through here because we have already had Tetris (on the marketing of the product outside of Russia), but the one that forms an inseparable part of a media and creative display where everything is replaceable except the logo.

We are talking about brands reflecting on themselves and, of course, doing so in the most laudatory terms possible: brands that perfectly fit the clichés of the biopic. not even though Grand Touring He performs well in this squad, showing irregular attention due to family circumstances or Mardenborough’s doubts, and preferring to recreate himself in the supposed spectacularity of the races. That’s where Blomkamp’s hand suddenly becomes relevant, but also where it’s completely suppressed.

The profuse use of drones and far-fetched camera arrangements seek to repair the absurdity of a “driving simulator” in live action, while an impenetrable montage tries to artificially underline the speed of the narrative. This montage, however, and in keeping with the emotional anemia of the whole, ends up stripping the images of any value, and returns us to the slogan that started it all. It is possible that Grand Touring “It’s no longer a game”, but this certainly doesn’t look like cinema either.

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