“Excellent!” *air-guitar solo plays*
In the wild and unpredictable year that has been 2020, it’s nice to have a few fun things pop up and remind you that the world is still a pretty great place.
The triumphant return of history’s totally most excellent duo, Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan, is one of those fun things!
A few months back I double-featured the first two Bill and Ted movies – “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” – in an entry of my “Throwback City” series, not only because they are two movies I have loved my entire life, but also because I was amped up for the release of the long-speculated, finally-confirmed, definitely happening in 2020, third Bill and Ted movie.
While it was supposed to debut in theaters this summer, the pandemic had other ideas, and “Bill and Ted Face the Music” debuted at select Drive-In theaters and instantly on-demand for those preferring to watch from home. I was so excited to see it I “rented it” via on-demand, something I’d never done before.
The story kicks off with Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) stumbling their way through a life that isn’t what they were told it would be. Knowing their destiny thanks to the events of the first two movies – together as their band The Wyld Stallyns they will create a song that unites the world in harmony and brings peace to all mankind forever – they have yet to live up to it. Because they have yet to do so, ripples are happening all throughout the space-time continuum, ripples that will bring about the end of humanity if they don’t create their song soon! They are once again sent back and forth through time to try and accomplish their mission, with a whole new crew of helpers along the way – along with some familiar faces from the first two adventures.
I watched the entire movie with a smile on my face, locked in place via nostalgia more than anything else. Like mentioned, I love the first two movies, and I grew up watching them over and over, along with jamming out to both soundtracks. Unlike with some sequels that seem to exist strictly so they can make the same jokes that were in the first movie – looking at you “Joe Dirt 2” and “Dumb and Dumber To” – “Bill and Ted Face the Music” merely makes reference to things that occurred in the first two entries. Because of this, viewers absolutely will not “get” most of it unless they have seen both previous movies. Sure, you could watch this movie on its own and get the overall gist of it, but a lot of the connections, inside jokes, and direct references from the previous two movies will not connect otherwise.
While I did enjoy the movie…it could have improved on a few things. A major part of the plot revolves around Bill and Ted’s spouses and children. The wives are pretty much deemed unimportant and disappear for a large part of the movie, and the focus is placed on both of their daughters, Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine), who are carbon copies of their fathers! Bill and Ted travel back and forth through time while the girls take a similar adventure through not only current time, but Heaven and Hell too. While I enjoyed the subplot of the daughters working together and being best friends like Bill and Ted are, I very quickly tired of Billie’s “surfer dude” accent, as it felt too put-on and exaggerated. Bill and Ted may have talked like that in the first two movies, and a little bit here as well, but it was fitting because of the timeframe that those movies existed in. In 2020 it was too much, especially from a secondary character!
Another complaint, and this is subjective because others may disagree…the movie didn’t have as many memorable moments and jokes as the first two. With the first two, I still quote them with friends occasionally, and I laugh to myself about scenes or lines that pop into my head. I watched this full movie, clear through the credits – there is a post-credit scene, so stick around – yet I don’t remember hardly any of the dialogue. The plot stuck with me, and I know what happened in the movie, but none of it was as emphatic or memorable as was the case with the first two films.
Lastly, the soundtrack was just bad. I love the first two soundtracks, which feature great hair metal songs from 80’s bands such as Extreme, KISS, Winger, and others. Here, the only song I remember from the movie was the final song, which I didn’t enjoy. I much more prefer the song used at the end of “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” – KISS’s “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.” That song is a true earworm, and sticks with you long after you’ve listened to it! The song that is the entire crux of this movie was just a bunch of noise smashed together, at least in my opinion. And, most importantly, it featured way too much of Kid Cudi (playing himself) instead of the entire point of the movies to begin with: Bill and Ted!
So, should you Watch it, or Skip it?
I vote: watch it!
Your best bet is to watch (or re-watch) the first two movies, but either way I think you’ll still enjoy it. Despite its flaws (flaws that may only be in my opinion) it is a much welcomed third entry into what was already an “excellent” series.
“Bill and Ted Face the Music” is rated PG-13 for mild language, with a total run time of one hour and thirty-one minutes.