Gran Turismo Met With Muted Critical Response: "Cliched", "Trope Laden", "a

Gran Turismo Met With Muted Vital Reaction: “Cliched”, “Trope-Weighted down”, “a Sony Business”

Now that the press screening embargo has ended, media outlets worldwide have started posting their reviews of the Gran Turismo film. So far, the critical reception has been quite subpar.

The movie is squarely in the middle of the pack according to review aggregator websites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, each of which compiles reviews from many sources to provide a single score that represents an overall impression. The movie receives a “critics” score of 47% on Metacritic and a “rotten” score of 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The highest single score across both venues is 75%, reflecting the fact that there are more blatantly critical reviews of the movie than good ones. However, the vast majority of reviews err on the side of the middle.

The racing action sequences and David Harbour’s portrayal of the fictional character Jack Salter received the most praise when we reviewed the movie earlier this week, based on a public screening because we were not invited to any preview screenings and were therefore not subject to the embargo.

Gran Turismo Movie Spoilers Beyond This Point!

Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter cites the action sequences as “the thrills that sell” and overcome the film’s “conspicuous deficit” in other departments. A more positive review from Todd McCarthy of Deadline still calls out the “potent auto action”, with Kristen Lopez of The Wrap highlighting the “wonderful job” of Jacques Jouffret in “capturing the thrill and fast-paced action”.

Not everyone is convinced though; Ross Bonaime of Collider remarks that the filming style “minimizes the excitement at every turn”, while Jeremy Mathai at Slashfilm lambasts the way the film recreates the game’s camera angles as “awfully stiff”. Curtis Moldrich at Car Magazine also notes the appearance of the “changes down and accelerates” racing film trope…

“Thank goodness for David Harbour”, declares The Guardian, in an otherwise excoriating review. It’s probably the only uniform sentiment out there, with every outlet either praising or highlighting Harbour’s performance. Harbour is described as “a full-throttle delight” in the Evening Standard and “charismatic” by Total Film, while Christian Zilko of IndieWire notes Harbour and Archie Madekwe (as Jann Mardenborough) “nail the … dynamic”.

One prevalent topic among the numerous critiques concerns its — predictable — connections to Sony. According to IndieWire, it’s “a pious ode to Sony’s wondrous PlayStation system,” “a highly elaborate corporate branding exercise,” and too many more sites to count, Orlando Bloom’s statement “This whole thing is a marketing extravaganza!” is ironic.

Another brazen review in the UK’s Telegraph argues that the movie is a “adoring advert… which presents its creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, as a benevolent God,” which is a particularly weird illustration of this. Even though Yamauchi as a person was amusingly featured, we thought Yamauchi as a character was severely underused after the opening crawl.

There are several other places where the advertorial nature is made fun of, including Madekwe’s early conversation with a “perfunctory” love interest when she dared to call Gran Turismo a game. Some media sites claim this character is dreadfully underutilized and only appears when it is necessary for the movie to “technically pass the Bechdel Test.”

People who have watched the film over the past several weeks have been more forgiving than the critics, who may have had mixed to negative opinions about it.

It wouldn’t be the first time, of course, that the general public and critics had different opinions of a movie, particularly one that was geared toward gamers. On Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, Gran Turismo is within 1% of The Super Mario Bros Movie, which received rave reviews from the public and made $1.4 billion.

The movie’s official release is still a few weeks away, but confusingly there are already public screenings available, and many cinemas are still honoring the original August 11 release date, so you might be able to see it sooner.

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