Sometimes you go out on the perfect note…
Bill & Ted Face The Music actually manages to achieve a certain level of genius to it. It captures the absolute goofball energy of the original films WITHOUT losing any of the earnest emotions in these characters. It’s the antithesis of the Hollywood cash grab and EXACTLY the movie we need right now.
When we last met Bill and Ted they were time-traveling teenagers trying to pass history class and win the battle of the bands. Once prophesized to save the universe with their rock and roll, middle age and the responsibilities of family have caught up with these two best friends who have not yet fulfilled their destiny. They’ve written thousands of tunes, but they have yet to write a good one, much less the greatest song ever written. With the fabric of time and space tearing around them, a visitor from the future warns our heroes that only their song can save life as we know it. Out of luck and fresh out of inspiration, Bill and Ted set out on a time travel adventure to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe as we know it. Together with the aid of their daughters, a new crop of historical figures, and some sympathetic music legends, Bill and Ted find much, much more than just a song.
Let’s call a spade a spade here shall we? The entire Bill & Ted franchise is inherently pretty goofy…so why have we gravitated to it over the years? Because of its flat out emotional honesty, that’s what makes Bill & Ted Face The Music so damn fun and important because they learn the importance of finally fulfilling their destinies.
Director Dean Parisot is an able hand when it comes to ‘out of this world’ comedies (see Galaxy Quest) and he brings a stable hand to the affairs. It’s got a genuine flow to it as it keeps us locked into the adventures of our now older heroes. The script from writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson deftly avoids trying to rehash too many of the old beats and allows them to have evolved given the 30+ years since we first met these rockers from San Dimas. The material really straddles a very delicate line in paying reverence to the past while giving it all a relevant feel. There’s nothing in the movie that is “fresh” by any means (the ending of it all is a little telegraphed), but it’s never stale as it evokes some genuine laughs and emotions along the way keeping us engaged from minute one.
I won’t lie, as a child of the 1980’s; I had some tears welling up because the message in this movie is so crystal clear and relevant in these hard times. We forget how important it is to simply “Be Excellent” to one another and this movie shines the light on that pretty well thanks to some excellent performances.
Neither Alex Winter nor Keanu Reeves needed to channel any kind of inner thespian to revisit these roles as their chemistry and timing together simply felt like they had actually been trying to write a song that would unite the world together for the past 30 years. Both men are comedically effortless and are given the necessary material to really give us a Bill and Ted who are still fighting for their dreams but may actually be on the brink of realizing that their dreams aren’t exactly what that expected.
Samara Weaving and Bridgette Lundy-Paine don’t have a ton to do but match the tone of their on screen Dad’s to an absolute tee, while some players from the original films come back and new roles and cameos from the likes of Jillian Bell, Dave Grohl & Kirsten Schaal add some overall flavour to the proceedings, in particular Kid Cudi who plays himself (except with a most exceptional knowledge of quantum dynamics in the space-time continuum…or whatever).
While the grown up in us all will know how truly silly Bill & Ted Face The Music actually is, you can’t help but let it embrace the freewheeling dream that lives inside all of us. It’s not a film about moving past your dreams or growing up, it’s about understanding how those things can and do change with the passage of time.
Bill & Ted remind us of a life lesson that gets too easily forgotten. “Be Excellent To Each Other” and in these days of global, political and health strife they are words to take directly to heart.