I’ve put off writing this review for a week now. And, to be honest, I still don’t want to write it.
Let me start this off by saying: I finally understand. All those people who groan every time another Disney or Pixar sequel comes out – I get it, I finally get it. What is the need for a sequel if it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger? If it doesn’t have any unanswered questions? If the audience is incredibly satisfied with the original film?
Well, money would be the answer, but I’m here to critique the movie, not the motives behind it.
So Trainspotting 2. T2. Danny Boyle is back with his iconic hit – along with all of the original cast which I found fantastic. It wouldn’t be Trainspotting without them so I’m glad they all returned to the story.
All the parts were there in order to make a beautiful film. However, I was left disappointed. When I came home, over a week ago now, my mother asked me, “So how was it?” sounding about as sceptical as I had felt. And I replied, “Very okay.”
I wish I felt the same as many of my peers because, the truth is, the majority of the audience enjoyed it. However, “not as much as the first one” they’re all quick to add.
And maybe that’s my problem. The first film is held on such a high pedestal that anything compared is utter nonsense. My friend told me that she loved T2 because it gave an update on the characters. It’s aim wasn’t to be better than the original – it was simply to show what happened.
However, I feel it could’ve been done much better.
Trainspotting 2 felt like a tribute. Danny Boyle reused shots, editing techniques and threw in so many Easter eggs. It felt incredibly overdone. I mean, although the newly updated “Choose Life” speech was impressive and beautifully performed by McGregor, the way it was set up seemed forced and false. It was as if Boyle and John Hodge (screenwriter) had a checklist and were simply ticking off everything they needed to include. It stopped feeling like a film and simply became a tribute act.
I understand the film was about nostalgia. The use of old home footage made that obvious. I understand it was about old versus new. The use of mobile phone footage and CCTV cameras made that extremely apparent. I understand those who saw the original movie in the cinemas way back in 1996 will be taken back to their youth. My mother read the book and still remembers when it first came out. I understand how fantastic it must have felt to finally include the scene where it explains the film’s title. But to me it didn’t matter. If you’re going to make a sequel to Trainspotting you need to make it it’s own movie. Seeing the characters wasn’t nearly enough.
Furthermore, I felt the acting from a few individuals dipped. At some points, I felt Jonny Lee Miller (Sick Boy) slipping into his usual character of Sherlock Holmes. I felt Spud’s (Ewen Bremner) expressions were completely exaggerated for the majority of the film, and although humorous, it was not needed. However, Robert Carlyle and Ewan McGregor will never fail to impress me.
As my boyfriend pointed out, T2 offered no hope. In the first one, Renton’s character ended the film with the statement, “The truth is that I’m a bad person. But, that’s gonna change – I’m going to change.” However, Renton didn’t change. He still is a bad person. Although this may be an accurate representation of human nature, I felt deflated at the closing credits. Like my friend said earlier, she wanted an update on the characters but, when the update is disappointing, I would rather not have it at all.
However, don’t get me wrong. I found myself getting caught up in the action and enjoying myself around half an hour in. I found moments in the story to be endearing, certain scenes were incredibly hilarious and, I have to admit, it was nice to have the gang back together. I just believe it could have been much more iconic.
But maybe I’m just picky. I will still choose the original Trainspotting.