MOVIE REVIEW: “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, John Wick), Alex Winter (Haunted Summer, Freaked), George Carlin (Dogma, Jersey Girl), Terry Camilleri (The Truman Show, Knowing), Dan Shor (TRON, Air Force One), Tony Steedman (Scrooged, Citizen Smith [TV series]), Rod Loomis (Body Double, The Beastmaster), Al Leong (Big Trouble in Little China, Die Hard), Jane Wiedlin (Clue , Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), Robert V. Barron (The Wild Wild West [TV series], Robotech [TV series]), Clifford David (Signs, Kinsey), Hal Landon Jr. (Eraserhead, The Artist), Bernie Casey (Never Say Never Again, Revenge of the Nerds), Amy Stoch (Summer School, Mr. Student Body President [TV series]), and J. Patrick McNamara (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941). It is directed by Stephen Herek (Critters, Mr. Holland’s Opus) and is written by Chris Matheson (A Goofy Movie, Imagine That) and Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Now You See Me). Two wannabe rockers Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) travel through time to bag some historical figures for a history assignment that will make or break their final grade.
“Excellent.” Thirty-one years after the original released to theaters, Bill and Ted return this weekend for a third outing, “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” In light of this new film coming out, I thought it’d be cool to review the first two pictures of the franchise; that, and the fact that I had never seen them before. Bill and Ted aren’t widely popular in my demographic, but they have been brought up quite a bit in my conversations with other filmmakers. They’re iconic characters, whose journey into time marked a staple of eighties cinema (alongside a ton of other classics). I hoped for a fun experience with this one, and for the most part it didn’t disappoint. The story is simple, the acting works, the chemistry between Reeves and Winter is marvelous, and the overall feel of the film is upbeat/joyous. Basically, it is a solid movie to unwind, turn off your mind, and enjoy. The concept is ludicrous, the reasoning insane, and plot holes irrelevant; what matters is the likeability of these characters and the journey they set out on. Mind you, this isn’t a stoner comedy. While it seems like it would be, the film is actually family-friendly. Bill and Ted are just some rocker dudesters who want to succeed in their history class. What adds to it is the time travel element, where these two bros essentially challenge history by bringing well-known figures out of their times and into ours. Ever want to see Beethoven (David) shred an electronic piano, or Joan of Arc (Wiedlin) teach a fitness class for women? You’ve got it. How about Napoleon (Camilleri) going crazy at a waterpark called Waterloo? It’s there too. Not only do you get to see these people be placed in silly situations, but you even have a small history lesson in the process (granted, it’s very small). So, if you’ve got some kids who don’t think history is cool, have them watch this; I’m sure they’d at least get a kick out of it (and might even look up some of these people). It’s no wonder that this movie became popular. Reeves and Winter work great together, and even without a deep dive into their characters’ psyche we understand who they are. Sometimes, you’ve gotta have a mindless watch, be it “Big Trouble in Little China” or a few Adam Sandler comedies, and “Bill & Ted” works well in this category. They even made an effort to change up the time travel genre, which is commendable. How so? Well, the aesthetic of it and certain aspects to the theory that were incorporated (like the scene where Bill and Ted are in the police station, and have helped themselves out by placing things for them in the future to use in the present). It doesn’t separate itself completely from the genre, but it does enough to be recognizable and – dare I say it – stand the test of time. I mean, hey, thirty-one years later and we have the third installment. Something works here. “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a fun, often humorous, eighties treat that, while not stacking high against the great classics of the decade, does what it came to do. If you are looking for something quick and enjoyable to watch, this is a safe bet. FINAL SCORE: 74%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: