They are brought forward, their lives are brought forward and it genuinely feels like 20 years have passed.
There is definitely a growing feeling amongst the film community, that sequels and remakes are a bad thing. They either try to recapture the magic of the original or they fail in taking the characters to a new place. Yet, then there is an extreme number of remakes that just carry on going. Transformers 5 is released this year, and I think it was pretty clear that the general consensus didn’t want a Transformers 2. This bad name for sequels and remakes definitely stems from the continuous churning out of certain franchises.
There was certainly a lot of scepticism surrounding T2 Trainspotting before it was released. The original is coveted dearly by many and a sequel was always going to be taking a chance. Good job it’s absolutely brilliant then.
Danny Boyle has managed to take the gap of 20 years and use it as a huge advantage. They are brought forward, their lives are brought forward and it genuinely feels like 20 years have passed. It’s such an insane trip down nostalgia lane, and it is hectic, overly monstrous and just as mental as the first. It passes itself off so well as a return to the characters lives we know and love to hate.
T2 Trainspotting returns us to the lives of Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlyle), and Spud (Ewen Bremner). Edinburgh is different, they are different and Boyle fills us in on exactly what’s been missed after Renton stole £16,000 20 years go.
What the film does best, is remember the original’s highlights without re-creating them and adding its own hilarities and vulgarities. Yet, it does stand alone as its own film. If it relied too heavily on its predecessor there would be too many inside jokes, but it works on all levels in a sense that it is the same characters later in life. Almost as if you are meeting them for the first time in 20 years. You will have memories, but they don’t stand in the forefront of what is happening in the present.
The characters feel the same, perhaps the life experience each of them has earned has helped them gauge where their characters now stand and particularly Robert Carlyle puts in a tremendous performance as a Begbie who has been locked up for 20 years. A man who is out to kill. No longer an angry man with no care for anyone, he is an outraged villain who wants revenge in its purest form.
T2 Trainspotting is not about portraying the lives of young men in Britain like the first, it is about showing what happens to young men in Britain, and the multiple ways it shouldn’t be dealt with. Danny Boyle has succeeded in creating a great sequel that doesn’t need to be called a sequel at all. Its fantastic.