August 27, 2020 Bill & Ted Face the Music (Movie Review)
Back in the early ’90s, goofy Comedies were all the rage and there were plenty that have since become cult classics. You had 1992’s Wayne’s World and Encino Man, 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, but preceding all of them was 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. A wild time travel Sci-Fi Comedy starring rising stars Alex Winter (The Lost Boys 1987, Freaked 1993) and Keanu Reeves (The Matrix 1999, John Wick 2014), plus comic legend George Carlin, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure became an instant hit with the younger generation. Spawning the equally well-received 1991 sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, for years a spin-off has been spoken of, yet never come to fruition. Now, catching many ’80s/’90s fans by surprise, Bill and Ted are back for a third film entitled Bill & Ted Face the Music.
Initially scheduled for release in theaters on August 21st, 2020, but rescheduled for in theaters and On Demand as of August 28th, due to COVID-19, many questions swirl around the latest Orion Pictures film. For starters, it has been nearly thirty years since the last feature, and a lot has happened in that time. For one, Keanu Reeves has become a massive star who has exponentially grown as an actor since playing Ted. Then there is Alex Winter, who has also grown a great deal, not only as an actor, but also a filmmaker. Additionally, and sadly, George Carlin could not return as Rufus since he passed on back in 2008. Furthermore, let us not forget that some times humor and comedy style do not quite age well. Are all these factors a recipe for failure with Bill and Ted in 2020?
Well, strangely enough, the pandemic that swept the world at the start of 2020, and continues to rage on, helps Bill & Ted Face the Music stay extremely fresh, topical, and uplifting. Written by Chris Matheson along with Ed Solomon, both who wrote the original two films, and come together again with a story that somehow makes sense and is fun to watch. Bringing it all together, they have Dean Parisot acting as the director, along with Winter and Reeves returning as Bill and Ted.
Joining them is William Sadler (Die Hard 2 1990, The Shawshank Redemption 1994) returning as the goofy Grim Reaper featured in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Kristen Schaal (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 2013, Bob’s Burgers series) portraying Rufus’ daughter (named Kelly in tribute to George, because that is his real daughter’s name), plus Brigette Lundy-Paine (The Glass Castle 2017, Bombshell 2019) and Samara Weaving (The Babysitter 2017, Ready or Not 2019) adorably portraying Bill and Ted’s daughters.
With all these details in place, the story of the new film picks up 25 years into the future where Bill and Ted are still trying to write the song that unites the world. Having failed to do so, they are questioning themselves, but soon receive an unforeseen visit from Rufus’ daughter, Kelly. Inspired to finally write the song that unites the world, they decide to take it upon themselves to do some time traveling to acquire the song from themselves; not to worry, it’s not stealing if you take it from yourself. This is all simultaneously happening while Billie (Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Weaving), their daughters, go on their own excellent adventure into the past to assemble the most awesome band ever, attempting to help their dads. While the four are time traveling all over the place, chaos ensues in reality, and it could be the end of the world.
A pretty solid storyline that is well-executed, somehow it is not the humor that really makes Bill & Ted Face the Music effective, but the message it provides. This is not to say the film is not funny, because it is in a classic Bill & Ted sort of way, but the ideas it conveys are really what we need right now. It is hopeful, projects the importance of team work, and inevitably promotes unity.
In truth, this is all really strange because when Bill & Ted Face the Music went into production in early 2019, there was no idea a pandemic was coming. Yes, there have been clear divisions in the USA that were continuously mounting, but all of this did not really come to a head until February of 2020. So, how the hell did Matheson and Solomon foresee what seems to be like ‘the end of the world’? Did they do a little of their own time traveling? We will never know. Regardless, Cryptic Rock gives Bill & Ted Face the Music 4.5 out of 5 stars for being fun and offering some light in a dark time.