Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure and Bill and Ted’s False Trip hardly have a plot holding them together. What could a third film in the franchise, delivered three decades after the previous episode, really bring to the table?
A keen awareness of past time makes Bill and Ted face the music just convincing enough to justify its existence.
The first one Bill and Ted The film was released in 1989, starring Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as two high school lunkheads who travel through time to host a history class presentation. His sequel followed two years later. The third newly arrived film in the series, Bill and Ted face the music, directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), once again sends Bill and Ted hurtling through time and space, but this time the heart of the adventure is not so fragile. The two best friends are supposed to save the world, sure, but more importantly, they’re trying to save their families.
Now well into middle age, Bill and Ted (played again by Winter and Reeves) have fallen out of favor. Their rock band Wyld Stallyns has become a joke – their last gig is at a family wedding. Their experimental styles, including a song titled “What Binds Us Through Time: The Chemical, Physical, and Biological Nature of Love and Exploring the Meaning of Meaning Part 1,” are steeped in nonsense. of theremin.
On top of that, their relationships with their wives, Joanna (Jayma Mays) and Elizabeth (Erinn Hayes), begin to unravel, as the two are seemingly unable to do anything independently of each other. . Meanwhile, Ted’s daughter Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and daughter of Bill Thea (Samara Weaving) are like carbon copies of their fathers.
The certainty that Bill and Ted’s schtick might carry over to the people around them after a while is one of the more interesting ideas than the original. Bill and Ted screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon play with it. The two men are nice, but they’re also terribly dark, either speaking in unison or ending each other’s sentences, all with a surfer-brother “Whoa, man” attitude that hasn’t changed with a flick of the tongue for almost 30 years. Only the discovery that their wives are leaving them in a future timeline really seems to come to them. (Even couple therapy goes awry, as Bill and Ted see it as another activity the two should be doing together.) Although they are told at the start of the film that they have 78 minutes to write a song that will save them . the universe from temporal collapse, the quest to save their families from collapse is what really sets their butt on fire.
Winter and Reeves somehow manage not to appear to be making impressions of their former selves, as today’s Bill and Ted encounter older, more colorful versions of themselves as they travel in time. Future cartoons give them an outlet for Bill and Ted’s typically over-the-top antics (even weirder accents and bizarre costumes), and allow them to keep the main performances relatively smooth and serious in comparison, tapping into the bitterness that crosses the film from its beginning. The film opens with clips from the first two films, and it’s striking how young the two main men were at the time. There is no denying the passage of time.
This is theoretically where Billie and Thea come in, as the film is also a passing of the franchise’s torch to the younger generation. But history doesn’t give Lundy-Paine and Weaving much to do. Billie and Thea essentially relive the events of the first Bill and Ted, except with more of a musical-fandom bent, and they unfortunately don’t have much personality beyond their “Hey, man!” »Affect. Their performances also underline how remarkable it is that Winter and Reeves are still fun to watch after all this time, rather than squeaking. Lundy-Paine manages to disappear into his impression of Ted, but Weaving (wonderful in Ready not ready) never quite achieves the feat. The way Bill and Ted talk and act has become so iconic that emulating them and making them natural is a high bar to cross, especially because their manners were so over the top at first.
Like its predecessors, Bill and Ted face the music It’s ultimately just friendly fluff, but Winter and Reeves are lovely together, and Bill and Ted’s need to grow up a bit helps give the film a spine. It’s a light film, but a gentle way to revisit the franchise, and easy enough to follow for audience members unfamiliar with the first two films. (Although some of the attraction may be lost on them.) More importantly, it seems like a sendoff for Winter and Reeves. Bill and Ted are still the Wyld Stallyns, but they’ve grown old from being wild stallions, and Bill and Ted face the music is at his best when he’s focused on what’s going on when they finally find out.
Bill and Ted face the music is now in theaters and available for rental on Amazone, Vudu and other streaming services.