The Upcoming Gran Turismo Movie And The Curse Of Video Game Adaptations


Video games have been popular source material for moviemakers for a long time. However, game adaptations have continuously struggled and mostly performed subpar. Gran Turismo is the game next in line to be adapted into a movie. Will it buck the trend of bad adaptations? Speaking exclusively with IGN on the set of the film, director Neill Blomkamp revealed that there was an initial hesitation towards making the movie.


A racing simulator turned into a movie

For many, including director Blomkamp, it didn’t make sense to adapt the game as a movie. After all, Gran Turismo is a racing simulator in which players compete in high-octane races with all kinds of sportscars. As it’s not a story-driven game, adapting it seems less intuitive than, for instance, an adaptation of The Last of Us, a game series that’s known for its deep narrative. Blomkamp had this initial apprehension until he read the whole script, as he told IGN.

The upcoming feature adaptation takes a unique approach rather than simply putting the game on screen. The movie won’t just feature races, instead, the audience will follow the story of a talented Gran Turismo player who takes his skills behind the wheel off the screen and onto the real track as he goes through the GT Academy to become a real-life racecar driver. The movie has been inspired by the true events in the life of Gran Turismo player Jann Mardenborough, who went from playing the video game to becoming a Le Mans racer.

Star actor David Harbour, especially known for his role in the highly acclaimed TV show Stranger Things, shared Blomcamp’s initial hesitation towards making a video game movie given their rocky track record. But both Blomcamp and Harbour were finally sold by this real-life approach the adaptation is taking, with Harbour describing it more as a sports movie and likening it to the 1986 American sports drama film Hoosiers. Could the Gran Turismo movie prove that, even after a long history of bad examples, video game adaptations can indeed succeed on the silver screen?



Games, movies, and their complicated relationship

Video games and movies have had a long, yet complicated, relationship. For decades, both industries have been inspiring each other, creating adaptations of games and movies in each medium. While video games based on movies have proven mostly successful, the same cannot be said about video games coming to the silver screen.

Tons of popular games from different genres are based on movie franchises. One of the most popular adaptations is the Star Wars video game series, with the newest iteration, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, having been released this year and scoring an 85 on MetaCritic. The dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park franchise have also taken over the gaming space, from the simulation game Jurassic World Evolution and the VR game Jurassic Park Aftermath to Jurassic Park arcade and slot games. Many online casino platforms offer a large variety of slot machines with all kinds of themes, including many movie franchises. Experts publish reviews of the best platforms with bonus offers on CasinoBonusCA, many of which offer the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World online slots, depicting the famed dinosaurs on their reels. Many other popular games, from the iconic GoldenEye 007 and Alien: Isolation to Mad Max and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, have succeeded in bringing renowned movies onto our gaming devices.

Yet, for decades, movies based on video games fared much worse, as one adaptation after another failed to find critical or commercial success. From the original 1993 Super Mario Bros. Movie and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to Alone in the Dark, In the Name of the King, and more, video game movies couldn’t recreate the essence that made their base material popular. It’s, therefore, no surprise that video game adaptations still have a bad reputation. However, there is hope that the curse may have been lifted. Recent releases have proven that video game adaptations can indeed be successful, with the Sonic The Hedgehog movies, the Uncharted film, and the newly released Super Mario Bros. Movie being both commercially and critically successful. Could the Gran Turismo movie follow in their footsteps and become an addition to the short but growing list of good video game adaptations?

The Gran Turismo movie will hit theaters on August 11, 2023. Taking a different and unique approach to adapting a video game, the team behind the movie and fans are hopeful it will buck the trend of bad game adaptations.

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