I clearly remember going to see the first one in the cinema, like the characters on screen I was in my early twenties. The friend I went to see it with, odd lad at the best of times, took his own food into the film and happily munched on a pickle sandwich (as I said, odd fella) during the toilet scene.
Not relevant, but thought I'd share that with you.
It was a cultural beacon, it fit so well. (The film, not my mate's sandwich.)
Both reflective and defining of its era. It's the last film I can remember coming out where the soundtrack became as essential to have on your shelf as the (VHS) copy of the movie. Born Slippy made it to No.2 in the charts. A ten minute pounding dance track with distorted volcals about getting completely mashed. As someone once wrote, possibly the UK's unlikeliest chart topper.
It felt like a vibrant, creative, rewarding and, without wanting to sound wanky, important film.
In that way films are "important". Not actually important in any real world way, but an instant, unquestionable classic.
Also, oddly, for a film about low-life, criminal heroin addicts, dead babies and violent nutters, it was incredibly good fun.
It could fairly be said that the first film didn't have much of a plot, that it was a series of episodic challenges working toward the sense of promise it finished on. The sum of its parts worked very well as a cohesive whole.
This one just feels fairly pointless. Mostly it appears to be a reflection of age, the disappointment we all feel in our middle years when we realise most of our dreams will never take tangible form.
At one point Renton rages against his diminishing vitality by shouting "I'M FORTY-FUCKING-SIX, MAN!"
A few minutes after, due to my less-than-olympian bladder and bad foot, I hobbled to the toilets where I took a piss that bordered on some form of cinematic Stockholm Syndrome, thinking "Yeah, I know how you feel, mate."
Later in the film, Sickboy accuses Renton of being "A tourist in your own youth", longing for years past. That's pretty much what this film is, a pale memory of the original's greatness.
Diane's very short appearance felt wasted as her character in the original was memorable and a strangely sane voice in their messy world. The film probably would've benefited from her perspective of the decades passing. And Kelly McDonald has aged very well. *Ahem*
I have no idea if the above makes much sense, I've just rambled on a bit. Like the film.
One thing had troubled me from the early pre-release shots taken on the film set, where had I seen the middle-aged Begbie before?
Of course! '80s comedy Weekend At Begbie's.
Anyway, drug and disease infested Scottish slum estates? Pah! We saw this miserable let-down at Crawley's "Leisure Park". Never has a place been more open to legal action under a description of goods act than that plastic, soulless, processed arse-pit.