Adaptation Blu-ray Review

'T2 Trainspotting' Blu-ray Review: Closure for a cult classic

June 27, 2017Ben MK

For the most part, sequels seem to be made with the three R's — reduce, reuse and recycle — in mind. With T2 Trainspotting, director Danny Boyle's two-decades-later followup to his 1996 cult classic, however, it's more a case of redemption, revenge and rehabilitation. And not necessarily in that order.

As you might expect, the film takes place 20 years after the events of the original, which ended with recovering heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) double-crossing his friends and starting his life anew. Now, after one failed marriage, a heart attack and too much time spent hiding out in Amsterdam, Renton has returned home to Edinburgh to make long-overdue peace with his past. But while the simple-minded Spud (Ewen Bremner) is quick to forgive Renton for his betrayal, the bitter Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and the vengeance-crazed Begbie (Robert Carlyle) have a more sinister welcome-back in mind for their former pal.

Adapted by returning screenwriter John Hodge from the books "Porno" and "Trainspotting" by author Irvine Welsh, what follows doesn't shy away from paying homage to the original. Yet, T2 Trainspotting is, in many ways, very different from Trainspotting. To Boyle and Hodge's credit, they don't try to recapture the feel of the first film. Closer to a spiritual successor than a direct descendant, this is a sequel that revisits its predecessor by framing it through the eyes of its older — but not necessarily wiser — main characters, while at the same time delivering the sort of closure to their arcs that fans perhaps didn't know they needed.

Of course, this being a sequel released in 2017, there's also an inherent sense of self-awareness about the proceedings, albeit nothing near the level of something as tongue-in-cheek as, say, Deadpool. Still, there are moments when T2 Trainspotting can't resist poking a little fun at itself, not to mention at the notion of a followup arriving some two decades after the fact. Granted, the result may not make these characters relevant again, but at least it serves as a worthy epilogue to their story, should a third movie fail to materialize in another 20 years.

T2 Trainspotting's aging protagonists may be worse for wear than their 20-something-year-old selves, but the film's Blu-ray visuals are a definite step up from its predecessor, boasting impressive color fidelity, excellent contrast and robust on-screen detail, topped off with light image grain that gives this 1080p transfer a subtle, filmic texture. As for the audio, the movie's sound design is primarily dialogue-driven, with a few middle-aged fisticuffs along the way. However, what makes the provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix really stand out is the soundtrack, from the pulsing electronic notes that open the film to the Prodigy remix of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" that closes it.

Sony's single-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an UltraViolet digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Commentary with Danny Boyle & John Hodge - The director and screenwriter talk about the script, the original novel, the returning characters and the actors' performances, the homages and honorable mentions throughout, shooting various scenes, the filming locales and more.
  • 20 Years In The Making: A Conversation With Danny Boyle & The Cast (24:49) - Director Danny Boyle and actors Jonny Lee Miller, Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle chat about the original movie and the original stage production, its cultural impact, and what it was like to revisit their characters after two decades.
  • Calton Athletic Documentary: Choosing Endorphins Over Addiction (4:25) - A short film by Euan Myles & Jonnie Lewis about Calton Athletic Recovery Group.
  • Deleted Scenes (30:11) - Twenty-nine scenes ("Begbie Walks," "Veronika & Simon," "Spud's Real Friends," "Men Make Easy Fools," "Begbie Surgery," "Take Veronika Home," "Begbie Wakes Up In Hospital," "Renton Visits Gail," "Simon & Veronika Shopping," "RIP Skag Boys," "Supercasino," "Fight At Tynecastle," "Renton At The Airport," "Concerned Citizen," "Pills & Supercasino," "Spud & Gail," "Begbie & Stoddart," "Stoddart Trapped," "What Did That Lawyer Say?," "Feeding Stoddart," "Begbie Calls," "Stoddart Escapes," "Parliament Tea Trolley," "I Like Your Stories," "Stealing iPad," "Train Journey," "Sewn Up And Back To Diane's," "Diane" and "The Painting").

T2 Trainspotting is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of June 27th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English and French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 57 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on March 17th, 2017.

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