31st Aug2020

‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Kid Cudi, Kristen Schaal, Anthony Carrigan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, Jillian Bell, Holland Taylor, Beck Bennett, William Sadler, Hal Landon Jr., Amy Stoch | Written by Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon | Directed by Dean Parisot

To fulfil their rock and roll destiny the now middle aged best friends, William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan, set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends – to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony to the universe.

Growing old sucks. As kids we have hopes and dreams that we think we can accomplish, we’re told by our parents that we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it. But what if despite putting our best foot forward, knowing that we CAN achieve what we want, we crash and burn? Goals not met, dreams unfulfilled? We grow up, we get married, we have children. We live a good life but not a GREAT one, the one we dreamed of. But there’s still time. Time to achieve your dreams, time to change things for the better. In ways you may never have imagined…

That’s the premise on which Bill and Ted Face the Music is based. A premise that will undoubtedly resonate with those that adored Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and had plans of their own, ones that may or may not have come to fruition. It certainly resonated with me!

Yet while the film may be a wry commentary on growing old (but not necessarily growing up), Bill and Ted Face the Music is also a most-excellent trip down memory lane for fans of the franchise. From the surfer-speak of Bill and Ted to the classic time-travelling phone booth and everything in between, this eagerly-awaited sequel truly recaptures the magic of that very first film… AND the sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey too. And as such there are references and callbacks galore for long time fans to appreciate – including appearances by some of the series’ iconic characters, besides Bill and Ted that is! The film also introduces some new characters that are sure to be instant fan favourites too… including one Dennis Caleb McCoy. I’ll say no more for fear of spoilers.

Bill and Ted Face the Music also does something quite remarkable. It reboots the franchise in a way that honours everything that has come before and also brings things full circle. We don’t need another Bill and Ted movie after this film, this is a fitting conclusion to the series and one that many of us have waited decades for but if they want to continue the fun they can, but in an all-new way. After seeing the film it’s no surprise that producer Steven Soderbergh got behind Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon’s script and that same script got Alex Winter to not only return to his iconic role but also acting in general – it’s just that damn good and so much a TRUE Bill and Ted movie.

There’s also a great message hidden in all the fun. That sometimes you have to look back into the past to find your own future; and your future might be right in front of you all the time… And given the current climate across the globe, that final sequence, that final gloriously uplifting sequence, is a brilliantly apt message for our times – but then Bill and Ted has always been about being excellent to each other. However Bill and Ted Face the Music takes that one step further, positing that we should be excellent not only to each other but also be excellent TOGETHER.

**** 4/5

Bill and Ted Face the Music is available on VOD now. UK audiences who don’t have access to US-based services (like having a US iTunes account) will have to wait until September 16th when the film finally comes to cinemas.


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