Of all the dormant film series confined to the history books, the last one you’d think of ever showing its face again is that of Bill and Ted. Not only that, but you have the same actors and same writers re-embracing it again. I don’t think there is anyone alive who can’t watch Bill and Ted and not say it isn’t wholesome. The series fully embraces its goofiness and that embrace has made these characters as iconic as their guitar riffs. But after 29 years of hibernation, the question was whether the goofiness of their adventures was stagnant and immature for a mature world. Well, the actual quality is as you’d expect from a series that was already flippant, but it is a lot of fun to watch, which at the end of the day, is the goal here.
It’s absolutely remarkable to see the level of dedication both Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves put into their self-investment in their respective characters. You most certainly get the sense of a reunion they both wanted to be a part of. Winter and Reeves have done an excellent job in bringing these characters to a new audience that can share the experience with those who saw the first film back in 1989. We see Bill and Ted as adults in the film, but their swaying movements haven’t changed a bit. They still have those sharp but small movements like they’re always light on their feet.
But I have to say, as much as the Wyld Stallyns themselves are set to steal the show, it is their daughters Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Bridget Lundy-Paine) who give the old boys a run for their money. Whereas in the older films it was Bill and Ted who traveled throughout history meeting historical figures, this role has now been passed to the daughters as they have their own separate adventure which I thought was a fantastic way of having this passing of the torch dynamic. I would be all for a separate spin-off film with the daughters, although I would like the actors to maybe tone it down on the obvious Bill and Ted impersonations.
Chris Matheson and Ed Soloman, the original writers are back as well and this film was always going to be a challenge to make compelling, but they’ve not only pulled it off, but evolved with the times. The story is multi-layers because while you have the on the surface story playing out, underneath it, there’s another story playing out, one of unity. Injected into the story is Bill and Ted’s commitment dilemma with their wives and throughout their journey in the future, they come across various versions of themselves who remind them how important their wives are to them. So while they still come across as the same old Bill and Ted, they have big hearts now and in certain moments it’s quite touching to hear how much other people mean to them.
The story may be better than expected, but there is the issue of how the scenes are cut together and to someone who has never seen Bill and Ted before, it can be extremely off-putting. There is multiple time travel in this film and an understanding of where and when these characters are is critical to the enjoyment this film can produce, but I will admit I had to backtrack several times, just to come to an understanding of where these characters are at. I just found it all a bit too flexible and sometimes convenient, which is something that got in the way of fully enjoying this film.
I’m not sure if there were some last-minute decisions with this film before it came out, but the ending of Bill and Ted Face the Music felt a little too…convenient. You see films like this that are made to be fun because it’s a distraction from what’s going on in our reality and during the end credits, there are certain, shall we say, clips that reflect the film’s theme of unity onto us as something we need at the moment. The fact this film would be released during a pandemic is something I believe is what made the filmmakers make this decision and if it works for you, it works. Personally however, not for me.
Bill and Ted Face the Music isn’t going to be the film that unites the world, but it is a film we need right now. For the past few years now, cinema has been pushing dark, realistic storytelling while forgetting every once in a while, we just want something that makes us have fun. This is a film I can easily see people re-watching if they’re feeling down so I implore you that if you’ve felt down by the world at the moment, this is the film that can bring back a smile on your face. The fact that Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves completely give themselves to these nostalgic characters is the films main strength and with the addition of their daughters, maybe there is more life in this series that can be dug up, and I find that…EXCELLENT!
Final Result: 6/10 – Above Average
(for general fun only)
Have you seen Bill and Ted Face the Music? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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