04th Aug2020

‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ 4K UHD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri, Dan Shor, Tony Steedman, Rod Loomis, Al Leong, Jane Wiedlin, Robert V. Barron, Hal Landon Jr., Bernie Casey | Written by Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon | Directed by Stephen Herek

If you’ve spent time on social media or reading movie-news websites or following the career of Keanu Reeves, then you might be aware that right now, as we speak, there is a third Bill and Ted movie on the way, a movie that brings back Alex Winter and Reeves himself as the air-guitar-shredding, continuously-partying, time-traveling, death-cheating, history-weaving titular legends of the late 80s and early 90s, Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan… WILD STALLIONS. Yup, Bill and Ted are coming back, and there are a lot of us fans who are excited about what that means. It could be an absolute blast.

What this new film also means is that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is also getting a re-release – in a brand new 4K restoration! Which means going back in time to 1989, to witness the teenage dirtbags of my youth jumping into their phone-box time machine, in order to travel back in time to complete their history report, never looked so GOOD!. If you aren’t aware, that’s basically what this movie is about. Bill and Ted haven’t done their history report. If they fail, Ted’s father will sent him to military school. Suddenly a dude named Rufus (George Carlin) arrives inside a phone-box that falls from the sky, and lets them know they now have the ability, using that box, to travel time to any year they wish. They put their minds together and realise that this is the perfect opportunity to get their history report finished. So… without too much concern, Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) go back to various time periods to basically kidnap (or borrow) a whole bunch of historical figures, from Billy the Kid to Socrates to Joan of Arc, so that they can put on the ultimate history assignment presentation in the history of San Dimas High. I mean, there’s a little more to it than that. There’s the whole side of the story that hints at Bill and Ted, who play music in their garage (badly), becoming the philosophical future of the planet, but let’s not go into that too much.

The sheer fun of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the main reason it’s always been so easy and enjoyable to go back and watch this film. From the moment it begins until it ends ninety minutes later, Excellent Adventure is just what it says it is. It’s excellent. Winter and Reeves deliver as the down-on-their-luck slackers who focus way too much on rock and roll music and babes that they do on high-school and their plans for the future. They’re a riot, and with their performances in this and the sequel, Bogus Journey, became iconic characters of their generation. It’s likely they will become iconic once again when Bill & Ted return to our cinema screens in the future.

The director, Stephen Herek, is actually a director I’m a fan of due to this film and one of my favourite films in a franchise I love called The Mighty Ducks (yeah, I’m a huge Ducks fan to this day). He also made Critters in 1986, another flick I have a great fondness for, and a bunch more movies. It’s perhaps Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, though, that Herek is most widely known for, and it’s because of how timelessly entertaining it is. It is still funny, it’s still dumb and weird and full of zany antics from the cast. They don’t really make comedy films like this these days, so it’s a blast to jump into our own time machine and revisit the two men who will unite planet Earth and all the alien races together in harmony with their rad Wild Stallion sounds.

So, if you haven’t ever seen Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (sacrilege I know!) then I urge you to give this new 4K release a go; and if it’s been a while since you took a step back to 1989 and spent an hour and a half with Genghis Khan, Abraham Lincoln, Missy (I mean, Mom) and Bill & Ted, then do yourself a favour and get this disc – even if you’ve already got one of the many Blu-ray releases. It’s fantastic restoration of a joyous film, giving a vibrant new life to a movie that will always be one of those films I never tire of throwing on. I suppose there’s only one real way I can end this review too, and that’s by saying… be excellent to each other and… party on dudes!

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon
  • Time Flies When You’re Having Fun! – A Look Back at a Most “Excellent Adventure”
  • Score! An Interview with Guitarist Steve Vai
  • The Original Bill & Ted
  • Air Guitar Tutorial with Bjorn Turoque
  • From Scribble to Script
  • Linguistic Stylings of Bill & Ted
  • Hysterical Personages of Bill & Ted
  • Episode from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures” animated television series
  • Radio Spots
  • Stills and Artwork

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is released on 4K UHD on August 10th.


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