A sequel to Trainspotting is a shitty idea
Yeah this is one of those things.
Danny Boyle’s 1996 film Trainspotting is a modern-day classic. Based on the novel of the same name by much-loved Scottish author Irvine Welsh and depicting drug abuse at its most hilarious and depressing, it’s one of, if not the best films dealing with the subject matter, and one of Boyle’s finest hours.
Today the internet has been awoken from its 20-year Trainspottingless-nod with the news that Boyle wants Trainspotting 2 to be his next project – “All the four main actors want to come back and do it,” he said in an interview with Deadline. In the same interview he noted it’s going to be difficult getting everyones’ schedules in line, so given the Hollywood machine this is still a bit of a glass-pipe dream, and because I'm bored and it's Tuesday and I haven't written anything for ages I’m gonna detail why I hope it stays that way.
Besides the fact that Boyle mentioning he wants to make another Trainspotting film is really just an excuse for the internet to start talking about him again so we’re all reminded he has a Steve Jobs movie coming out soon (Public Relations 101), here’s a few reasons why this idea sucks:
Nostalgia-baiting sequels to older films have been all the rage for a few years now, but none of them have been good.
Dumb & Dumber To, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Wall Street 2, The Godfather Part 3, Tron Legacy, The X Files I Want To Believe, Scream 4, Prometheus, Terminator 3, Basic Instinct 2, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Superman Returns… These are just a few movies that are sequels to a film that came out at least 10 years prior, and they have one thing in common – they all suck. There are of course a few exceptions – Toy Story 3 was great, I loved Jurassic World this year but a lot of people hated it despite the fact it made 7 trillion dollars at the box office and Mad Max: Fury Road will end up on a lot of Best Of lists this year, but the ratio of sucking to not sucking is definitely in favour of the former...
...and it's only gonna get worse.
Did you know Independence Day 2, Zoolander 2, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Bad Boys 3, Barbershop 3, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2 and a Finding Nemo sequel are all on the way in the next couple of years. The movies they are sequelling all came out a long time ago (see my previous point). We complain about Hollywood making too many sequels all the time, yet we lose our minds when one of our favourite older movies gets a sequel announced. And that’s what Hollywood wants.
Danny Boyle has been off the boil for a while.
Alright so he’s only had one major release in the past few years – Trance – but no one saw it and it wasn’t very good. It remains to be seen if his Steve Jobs movie is a winner, although it has Michael Fassbender in it, and he is pretty great. But the fact Boyle is thinking about going back to the well of Trainspotting means he’s not feeling at the top of his game. The Steve Jobs movie should be in the press because critics have seen advance screenings and are raving about it, not because he's dropping Trainspotting 2 bombs in interviews about it.
It’s based on Irvine Welsh’s novel sequel, Porno, which kinda sucked.
Boyle himself is on record saying Porno is “not a great book in the way that Trainspotting, the original novel, is genuinely a masterpiece.” Likewise MacGregor has said a sequel to Trainspotting would be a shame. In addition, there's been three other Welsh novel-film adaptations, of which Filth was good (thanks to James McAvoy), while the other two (Ecstacy and The Acid House) were pretty average. Sure great movies have come out of a shitty books, but there’s a reason why a sequel to Trainspotting has always been a bad idea, and that’s because…
I don’t wanna know what happened to everyone after Trainspotting.
The ending to Trainspotting is one of film history’s perfect finales. Ewan MacGregor’s Renton drops a perfect, hope-filled monologue as he marches off into the unknown with a heap of cash:
“The truth is that I'm a bad person. But, that's gonna change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.”
If you’re old enough you probably remember reading it on the sweet Trainspotting poster you bought for your room to show how edgy you were in your first year of University. In all likelihood Renton was just marching off to continue fucking up his life - he had enough cash for HEAPS of heroin now, and after watching him continue to fuck up over and over again why wouldn’t that continue in the rest of his life? However, there was also a glimmer of hope it wouldn’t. That he could turn it around; get that job, family, and big fucking television. And in the information age and time of reality TV, where we have to know absolutely everything about everything, the great unknown of Renton marching off into the sunset to the tune of Underworld’s Born Slippy is a fucking beautiful thing.
I don’t want to see them continue fucking up their lives in the porno industry or whatever the hell they’re doing 20 years down the track. It's the romance of the unknown. I want to wonder what if they did get their shit together and sort their fucking lives out? Because I've really got no idea if I'll ever sort my life out, and it's nice to dream about it.