T2 Trainspotting 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
TRAINSPOTTING hit theaters in 1996, receiving both critical and commercial success by providing a voice to a section of a generation that felt lost and helpless, all told with a visually creative style. When hearing that Danny Boyle wanted to revisit the film that made him a household name, I felt the same way I’d feel if someone said they wanted to make a sequel to THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Sure, there may be more stories to tell, but do they really need to be told? In the case of T2 TRAINSPOTTING, it’s a bit of yes and no. The film works in some ways and fails in others.
Twenty years have passed since Renton (McGregor) betrayed his three friends and left with 16 thousand pounds (technically, it was only 12 since he gave 4 to Spud. After suffering a heart attack and facing some life crises, Renton decides to return to Edinburgh and reconcile with his former friends. he starts by saving Spud’s life during a suicide attempt, then meets a not so friendly Sick Boy (Miller). After a violent reconciliation, Renton and Sick Boy hatch a plan to scam some money and start their own brothel. Things are going moderately well until Begbie (Robert Carlyle) breaks out of prison, determined to exact his revenge on Renton.
There are parts in T2 that really work and there’s a feeling of overall themes such as the idea that you can’t run from your past, you can’t go home or that in the end, the place we came from and the experiences we’ve had shape who we’ve become. These are important and relevant themes, not just in the context of the movie, but in the meta sense of a more mature sequel reflecting on the recklessness of the original. Unfortunately, these themes are not explored to their fullest potential and they get abandoned for the sake of a fun sequence. Renton and Sick Boy teaming up to rob a backwards religious group was fun and exciting, but it seemed Renton got to that point pretty quickly and without reason. One minute he’s reflecting on what he did 20 years ago and how much his life has changed and the next he’s stealing from innocent people.
The grander themes get pushed aside again in the third act as soon as Begbie starts his revenge tour and instead of being another past sin that Renton has to face, Begbie’s rage makes it feel more like an action-comedy. In the original, Begbie’s craziness was a nice anecdote to the meaningless stumbling of the other three characters, but here, he’s just sad. And when he becomes the antagonist to Renton, Sick Boy and Spud, the film loses some of its charm. Aside from Begbie, the other distracting character was Veronica, who gets a love triangle going with Renton and Sick Boy. Her inclusion felt forced and unnecessary.
Although T2 TRAINSPOTTING didn’t manage to reach a level of depth I was hoping, it still managed to be a fun film. It was a blast to catch up with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie after meeting them over 20 years ago. There’s plenty here to make for a fun film and it respects the original enough that die-hard fans shouldn’t be upset at the sequel’s existence. But know that there’s not as much to say this time around.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: It’s great to see a Danny Boyle film on Blu-ray, but I’m not sure his gritty style is going to change the mind of any 4K naysayers. T2 TRAINSPOTTING is more reserved than some of his older films in term of grain and saturation, but what is there is more noticeable on the 4K than on the Blu-ray. Personally, I love Danny Boyle’s film style and I believe the 4K is a better representation of his style than the Blu-ray. That said, there are moments in this 4K that really stand out. For example, the scene with Renton and Spud running with the sun in the background looks incredible on 4K, thanks in large part to the HDR. On the other hand, the scene where Renton and Sick Boy are singing in the meeting hall barely shows any improvement. Part of that is the style and the other part is the fact this is upconverted from 2K. We do get the pseudo 3D effect thanks to the improved clarity and colors, but overall, I’m not sure T2 TRAINSPOTTING is a movie that necessitates a 4K upgrade.
Audio: I loved the Dolby Atmos track. Boyle always does a great job incorporating music into his films and I really liked the soundtrack to T2 TRAINSPOTTING. The Dolby Atmos mix made for a booming soundtrack and ended up being one of the best parts about the disc.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with Danny Boyle and John Hodge: I was surprised by how important it was for Danny Boyle to continue this story. He clearly has a soft spot for the original and seemed proud to go back and revisit the world he created so long ago. Between him and Hodge, this is a good, very informative commentary.
Deleted Scenes (30:10): A slew of scenes that feel like they were cut for timing purposes.
20 Years in the Making: A Conversation with Danny Boyle and the Cast (24:50): Ewen Bremner couldn’t make it, but the other major cast members and Boyle reflect on the original film and discuss revisiting them. It’s a nice discussion, but it feels more nostalgic than informative.