How long is the ideal amount of time to wait for a movie sequel? Put out a new movie in a series every year or two, and franchise fatigue quickly sets in. Wait more than 10 years, and you run the risk of your target audience losing interest. Most of the time, if the gap between films is too large, the sequels go direct to DVD or wind up as a TV movie. Unfortunately, for those that do try and go the theater route, recapturing what made the originals so great is almost always lost and the sequel usually falters. Independence Day, Blues Brothers and Dumb & Dumber all waited too long for followups, and all were failures. Trainspotting, finally getting a sequel after 21 years, is the latest film to wait an extended period of time. Will it buck the trend and be a success or be just another case of too little, too late?
It’s been 20 years since Renton (McGregor) screwed over his friends and ran off with the money they stole. (spoiler alert! –Ed) Now, after finally kicking his heroin habit but having a near death experience, he returns to Scotland to try and make things up to his friends. Unfortunately, their lives have not improved since he stole their money. Sick Boy (Miller) has swapped heroin for cocaine, and makes a living by blackmailing rich people. Spud (Bremner) started to turn things around, but wound up back on the needle and wants to end his life. Begbie (Carlyle) has been in prison for the past 2 decades. Sick Boy and Spud are obviously upset by Renton’s sudden reappearance, but try and make things right with him. On the other hand, Begbie isn’t about to forget.
First off, I loved the original movie. Trainspotting completely messed with your mind with imagery that was beyond disturbing, but had characters you loved to hate and had one of the best soundtracks of the last 25 years. Honestly, it holds up just as well today as it did 20 years ago. Sadly, I don’t believe I’ll be looking back so fondly on T2 in 2037. The leads still work well together, but the movie is just … missing something. It’s almost as if everything was neutered and toned down to appeal to a more general audience. Removing everything that made the original so great has seriously hurt this film.
In the end, no matter how long it takes for a sequel to come, what’s important is that the movie is enjoyable. Much to my disappointment, the long awaited followup is boring. I found myself checking my phone every few minutes just to see how much longer until I could leave. That’s not a great sign…