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Bill & Ted Face the Music - Spoiler-free review

Nathan Strum

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Continuing on with the continuation of my blog (and because I've only written 5 episodes of Artie so far), it's time for the return of the Spoiler-free review!

 

Unfortunately, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there aren't any movie theaters open around here. And even if there were, frankly, I wouldn't go into one right now unless the audience members were all sealed up in giant Ziploc bags and wiped down with a bleach solution, which would kind of negatively impact the whole ambience of the place.

 

But there have been some movies that were slated for theatrical release that have been made available on streaming services (in this case, iTunes), so we'll just go with a couple of those.

 

I've always thought that Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was one of the best (or certainly most fun) time travel movies. It had a goofiness and charm to it, was genuinely funny, used time travel very cleverly (by completely ignoring paradoxes) and had two extremely likable characters in Bill and Ted played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves.

 

The sequel - Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey - wasn't as much fun, or quite as clever, but avoided the pitfall of just repeating the first film, and still managed to have some fun moments. The high point was William Sadler as a brilliantly funny personification of Death. The ending, while not as clever or satisfying as the first film, seemed to tie up the storyline for the two lead characters as they performed for a worldwide audience, fulfilling their destiny.

 

A third movie had been rumored for years, and was officially announced two and a half years go. It was one of those projects that made me think "Why?" At that point Reeves and Winter were already too old to play the same daft but lovable high schoolers. And what would they do? They'd already fulfilled their destiny, hadn't they?

 

Bill & Ted Face the Music answers that question by revealing that no - they hadn't. In fact, they were now middle-aged has-beens, and the end of the second movie wasn't the end of their story.

 

What makes Face the Music work is how effortlessly Winter and Reeves fall back into these characters again. They're still earnest, likable, and somewhat daft (perhaps naive is a better word), but - and this is the important part - they've grown. They've been trying desperately for the past 25 years to write the song that would unite the world, and they've worked hard at it too. They've learned all about music, released album after album, and raised their daughters to have that same passion for music. It feels honest - that these two characters really are the same ones from decades earlier, but they haven't stagnated. The movie doesn't try to make time stand still (pun intended) and keep these characters stuck in the past. They've been trying their best. Older, wiser, but still unmistakably Bill and Ted.

 

Bill and Ted's two daughters (Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving) are fun to watch interacting with their dads, with Lundy-Paine particularly doing a most excellent job of picking up Reeves' mannerisms. William Sadler makes a welcomed return as Death and falls right back into character. Several other characters from the first two films also return (although a few were re-cast) and really help this feel like a continuation of the original films. A fun new addition to the cast is robot from the future played by Anthony Carrigan. As weird as the universe of Bill & Ted has become, he fits right in.

 

The film revisits some of the tropes from the first two films, but without merely repeating them. The humor and writing style picks up right where the previous films left off, and the whole film feels very much like it belongs with the first two (it helps that the original writers from the first two movies were behind this one as well). The writers, cast and crew clearly had fun making this. Kudos especially to Reeves for being willing to step back into the role when he's become one of the biggest action movie stars in the world. He really didn't have to do this for any other reason than for the fun of it.

 

Clips shown during the end credits tie the movie into how people from all across the world are using the internet to collaborate musically during the pandemic. It was genuinely (and surprisingly) emotional and is actually my favorite part of the film. (And yes... there's a post-credits scene too. Stick around, or fast forward, for that.)

 

Since I didn't own the first two films in HD (only DVD for the first film), I bought all three on iTunes for only $30. That's about what it would cost to go to a nice theater (with snacks) to see just one movie, so it was definitely worth it, especially to re-watch the first two films again before seeing this one. Bonus features are minimal.

 

Bill & Ted Face the Music is fun, light, and heartfelt entertainment. If you liked the first two films, you'll enjoy this one. It's not as good as the first, but better than the second, and it does a most excellent job of concluding the trilogy. And right now, in the midst of 2020, you can do far worse than that.


Bill & Ted Face the Music gets a most non-heinous 7/10. Be excellent to each other!

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Whoops, I should have watched the second movie before reading this review.  :D  Just watched the first one a month ago, and have intentions of watching the second before we watch this new one.  Thanks for the review!

 

 ..Al

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Well, I didn't spoil much about the second movie. :roll: It's still worth seeing.

 

And anyway, that was nearly 30 years ago - I don't think I should have to put up spoiler warnings for films that old. ;)  (I have no idea how 30 years have passed since the 1990's.)

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I'm a HUGE fan of the original film.  I saw it in my senior year of high school with a packed audience and immediately became one of my favorite movies.  It had kindness, charm, and heart - something many movies lack today.  The second movie paled in comparison to the original but like you said it did have some funny moments.  I tolerated it and understood it was mostly a cash grab by Hollywood.

 

Keanu Reeves is a well accomplished actor and didn't need the money to make this film as he had a largely successful career.  He made the move for the fans, and this is why I jad such high hopes for the film.  I saw the movie in the theater on the night of its release.  I wore my Wyld Stallions hockey jersey and had such high hopes but sadly I was most disappointed in the end result.  The acting, the plot, the story... it was a total failure IMHO.  There were a few funny moments but I enjoyed B&TFTM the least of the 3 movies.  I appreciate the message but I just felt it was too much too late and so predictable.

 

I would give it a 4/10 at best.  Sorry to be a downer. :(

 

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18 hours ago, Nathan Strum said:

Well, I didn't spoil much about the second movie. :roll: It's still worth seeing.

Yeah, I don't think I've ever actually seen the second film, but the first one I've seen numerous times.  Will try to watch the second movie this week, maybe watch the new film this weekend.

Quote

And anyway, that was nearly 30 years ago - I don't think I should have to put up spoiler warnings for films that old. ;)  (I have no idea how 30 years have passed since the 1990's.)

Don't remind me!

 

 ..Al

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2 hours ago, scooby666 said:

I'm a HUGE fan of the original film.  I saw it in my senior year of high school with a packed audience and immediately became one of my favorite movies.  It had kindness, charm, and heart - something many movies lack today.  The second movie paled in comparison to the original but like you said it did have some funny moments.  I tolerated it and understood it was mostly a cash grab by Hollywood.

 

Keanu Reeves is a well accomplished actor and didn't need the money to make this film as he had a largely successful career.  He made the move for the fans, and this is why I jad such high hopes for the film.  I saw the movie in the theater on the night of its release.  I wore my Wyld Stallions hockey jersey and had such high hopes but sadly I was most disappointed in the end result.  The acting, the plot, the story... it was a total failure IMHO.  There were a few funny moments but I enjoyed B&TFTM the least of the 3 movies.  I appreciate the message but I just felt it was too much too late and so predictable.

 

I would give it a 4/10 at best.  Sorry to be a downer. :(

No worries - everyone has their own take on the films. I liked the first film as lighthearted, goofy entertainment. I can't say was a "huge fan" though (never owned a cool hockey jersey), so my expectations going into the third film were, well, zero. So for ninety minutes of still-lighthearted, goofy entertainment on iTunes, especially in the midst of a pandemic, it worked for me. :) (Plus, it was way better than The Rise of Skywalker.)

 

(On a semi-related note, I really liked the Lynx Bill & Ted game. I thought it made clever use of time travel. I need to dust it off again, haven't played it in years.)

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