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T2: Trainspotting & Other Great Late Sequels

T2: Trainspotting, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 1996 masterpiece Trainspotting has managed to do what evades the vast majority of directors and studios; create an acclaimed sequel that retains the original’s magic and style whilst presenting a unique vision. The long rumored sequel has certainly gone through a lot of hurdles along the way though, including a rift in Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor’s relationship and the failure to geta more faithful adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s book Porno off the ground. Despite all that, T2 arrived in cinemas earlier this year a full 21 years after the original. This got us thinking about what some of the best sequels are that arrived a significant amount of time after the original, as opposed to the usual 2-3 year gap we are accustomed to these days. Check out five such examples below…

The Hustler (1961)/The Color of Money (1986)

When it comes to sequels, you’re probably in a good position if you’ve got Martin Scorsese directing it. Whilst generally seen as one of his lesser films, The Color of Money has lot going for it, even if simply for allowing Paul Newman to build and expand his iconic portrayal of ‘Fast Eddie’ Felson. His return to the role won him the Oscar that he should have received 25 years before. This is not to mention the exciting and natural chemistry that Newman shares with Tom Cruise who was rising to stardom at the time in films like this and Top Gun (which now has its own late sequel in the works).

Toy Story (1999)/Toy Story 3 (2010)

Pixar are surely the kings of long awaited but successful sequels by now, proving their ability to make films that are worthy of the original with pictures like Finding Dory and Monsters University. An unequivocal favorite of these efforts though is Toy Story 3. The film received universal acclaim upon its release and managed the difficult task of providing heartwarming and hilarious entertainment whilst exploring a variety of weightier and more melancholic themes throughout. Whilst this mix is a classic trope of Pixar, Toy Story 3 does so in a particularly authentic and original way.

Alien (1979)/Aliens (1986)

Perhaps the shortest gap on this list but worthy of inclusion for the sheer enjoyment and audacity of James Cameron’s film. Cameron arguably unlocked the vast potential of the Alien series by making a film tonally and thematically opposite to the original. Unlike many other franchises, Alien was beholden to no source material or fan expectation so could go anywhere; from that we were blessed with a classic slow burning horror film and a classic all-guns- blazing action film. Cameron made the anti-Alien and in the process created a sequel that could sit comfortably next to the original free from needless comparison.

Clerks (1994) /Clerks II (2006)

Clerks did a lot of things – it helped create the indie-movie scene in its current form by proving that micro-budget films could be massive, it catapulted Kevin Smith into the mainstream and was one of the funniest comedies of the 1990s. The first was set over a single day in the lives of convenience store employees Dante and Randal, and the sequel saw them trying to change their mundane lives but essentially ending up in the same position. Like the original, Clerks 2 is a lewd, mischievous and hilarious film that celebrates misfits and the misfits that loved them.

Trainspotting (1996)/T2 (2017)

T2 is essentially everything one would hope from a Trainspotting sequel – it’s bold, desperately sad, hilarious and filled to the brim with visual flair. Like the other sequels on this list T2 also manages to walk a very fine line; it is a nostalgia piece that still manages to tread new territory by exploring middle-age malaise and disillusionment in the context of the digital age. The cast are once again impeccable with Ewan Bremner managing to be the clear stand-out for the second time.

T2: Trainspotting is currently available in the UK through digital outlets and on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD. American viewers will receive the film across all such platforms on June 27th.

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