Tuesday, June 27, 2017

T2 Trainspotting Blu-ray Disc Review

T2 Trainspotting  is the long awaited sequel to Danny Boyle’s 1996 breakout feature film Trainspotting, which launched the careers of Ewan MacGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle, all of whom returned to reprise their respective roles as Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie. The film is a loose adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s sequel novel Porno as well as touches upon elements of the original Trainspotting novel as well. Screenwriter John Hodge also returned along with a great deal of other actors from the previous film who include Shirley Henderson, James Cosmo, Kelly Macdonald, Eileen Nichols, and Kevin McKidd in archival footage. Those who are expecting a retread of Trainspotting may be disappointed. This is not a nihilistic film and most of the leads are old enough to play the parents to their original characters in the first film and that is an important point to keep in mind. Those who are going to not consider watching this film because they think it is going to be a movie about middle aged junkies are doing themselves a disservice because that is not at all what T2 Trainspotting is about.

While it definitely helps to be familiar with the memorable characters of the original, T2 Trainspotting stands well on it’s own too though I think this movie will resonate a lot more with people who saw the first film as well as older people who are just reaching that point where they no longer feel immortal and the bad things that can happen are what happens to other people because the future is no longer seemingly all ahead of them. T2 Trainspotting is about coming home to your family and or your friends and frenemies alike. It is about the strength of childhood friendships because as the feature film version of Stephen King’s The Body entitled Stand By Me eloquently stated and I am paraphrasing here, “I never have had friends like the ones I had when I was young. Does anyone?” Like the Talking Heads song “Once In A Lifetime” states, “This is not my beautiful Wife. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful car.” The present is not how any of the characters expected their lives to turn out. Renton, who has been living in Amsterdam since the events of the first film, has suffered a type of heart attack and now has a stent in his cardio system. Renton has also been laid off from his job and his wife is divorcing him. Sick Boy is dating a prostitute he uses to the extort “Johns” in order to save money to turn his failing pub into shady sauna spa. Spud is a junkie and is on the verge of committing suicide when Renton saves his life while Begbie finds a way to flee imprisonment following another denial of parole and he desires to avenge himself upon Renton for stealing the money at the end of the first film. 

How each of these characters find some kind of redemption without candy coating is what the film’s ultimate plot is about. If the message of the first film was based upon the anti addiction slogan popularized by Wham in the 1980s, “Choose Life,” the ultimate message of T2 Trainspotting is literally plastered in large words across the screen at the end and those words read, “Be Moved.” Another interesting component of this sequel is that after twenty years, the cast and crew as well as the reuniting between Filmmaker Danny Boyle and Actor Ewan MacGregor for the first time since A Life Less Ordinary is a homecoming of sorts since none of these actors have appeared on screen together as far as I know since the original Trainspotting and I never knew this until watching the cast and Director interview included on the Blu-ray that Johnny Lee Miller and Ewan MacGregor have known each other since they were kids despite the places their respective careers have taken them. In the interview (24:49) Boyle, Miller, MacGregor and Carlisle have a lively discussion of the characters and where the are now as it related to their personal lives. Bremner has a brief introduction, but is not a participant despite an image of him being placed on a table so he could be there in spirit while he was off working on another project. I never knew Bremner played the lead in the stage play version of Trainspotting and he made Spud his own with ease during the transition from the stage production to the feature film. Of all of the cast members that have been consistently working since the original film, I think I have seen Bremner in more films than I have anyone else perhaps because of his ability to whole heartedly inhabit character roles and bring a kind of naive or innocent quality to them, that I can only guess must be a part of Bremner personal character when he is not working.

This interview is supported by a feature length audio commentary with Screenwriter John Hodge and Director Danny Boyle where they discuss the development of the film, the decision to use the T2 Trainspotting as the release title rather than something like Trainspotting 2. It has as much to do with the film’s main characters as it does marketing. Discussing the psychology of the characters as well as location shooting and cinematic language used to convey things quickly with minimal exposition as well as the use of visual language to explore things spoken and unspoken to illicit an emotional response proves why Danny Boyle is arguably one of the best working filmmakers on both sides of the Atlantic with his unique ability to switch from one genre to the next with every film he makes.

Also included are a reel of 29 deleted scenes presented in full 1080p HD with 2-Channel Audio (30:11) and I have to state after seeing the deleted scenes that I agree with every editorial decision made by the filmmakers. A reel of trailers that also play before the main menu appears includes previews for the fifth Underworld feature film (2:36,) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2:37), the new CGI Resident Evil movie coming soon (1:38) Spider-Man: Home Coming (2:17) as well as Red Band trailers for Life (1:47), and Rough Night (2:32). Within the Blu-ray BD case is an insert containing a limited time only redeemable Ultraviolet Digital Copy of T2 Trainspotting.

The picture quality on the 1080p full HD Blu-ray is spot on and is complemented well by the English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Soundtrack. A French Language Dubbed DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Soundtrack as well as English and French Language Descriptive Audio Tracks and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, English Subtitles for the filmmaker Audio Commentary Track and French and Spanish Language Subtitles are also encoded as options. There is a total of 16 scene selections and the interactive menus are easy to navigate. 

T2 Trainspotting is available on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and DVD, but sold separately and the film is also available on various Digital streaming platforms now courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2017 By Mark A. Rivera
All Rights Reserved.