In early 2019, when it was confirmed that Bill And Ted 3 was actually going to happen, there was a mix of joy and concern. Fans of this beloved franchise, myself included, were wondering “Is this going to ruin my childhood?” Can you blame us? Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was a smash hit comedy in 1989. It was unlike anything we have seen before. Sure Back To The Future came out four years prior to that, but this was worlds apart, in style and tenor.
Then two years later, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was about as solid of a sequel that any of us could have asked for. To this day, these two comedies hold up surprisingly well. The years turned into decades. In that time many film properties have been resurrected from our past that should have stayed preserved, in our minds and our hearts. But now, 29 years later they will make another Bill and Ted movie?
It does not take a time traveler to know this is a herculean task. So much has changed over the decades. Our culture and sensibilities are totally different, yet these filmmakers have to deliver on what we loved about the first two movies. I am happy to say Bill & Ted: Face the music did not disappoint. My childhood is intact.
Bill & Ted: Face The Music is about two would be rock stars, Keanu Reeves as Ted, and Alex Winter as Bill, who have been told their music will unite the world in the future. But now they are struggling, middle aged dads who are about to give up on what was once a most excellent destiny.
Even though I am in Los Angles, in the middle of a global pandemic, I decided to see this movie as it was intended, on the big screen. So I went to a drive-in theater for the first time. This was such a fun experience, forgive me as I quickly recount this journey. The drive on I-10 was bogus, but I made it in one piece. I pull up to the booth and was told the the FM frequency to tune into for the audio was hand written at the bottom of my ticket. Why was it hand written? Do they change the frequency every now and then? These are the great questions of the universe that remain unanswered.
Once I put it in park I found the perfect settings for my car speakers. The balance of the audio a little more toward the back of the car so I get that surround-sound feel and more treble than bass, because I knew this movie would rock. After an announcement reminding everyone to turn their headlights off the movie was projected and cut through the night sky.
From the start we see that Bill and Ted have matured. They have a more sullen outlook on life now that much less of their future is ahead of them. Our protagonists are a little more sophisticated, but still speak the way we know and love. They have an expanded vocabulary, but they do not know how to fully use it.
The movie is well paced and gives us welcomed callbacks from the prior films while still being fresh and original. William Sadler makes a most triumphant return in the role of Death. The time travel element in the story will give fans all the right kind of feels. The way they addressed “Little Bill” and “Little Ted” shown at the end of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was interesting, and effective.
We are introduced to a new future and cast of characters. Like Samara Weaving as Thea and Brigette Lundy-Paine as Billie. Anthony Carrigan plays a character that is sure to be the new fan favorite in this installment. There is a ruthless robot sent from the future to kill Bill and Ted, but I should be clear, he does have a name. Even famed musician Dave Grohl makes a cameo appearance, though I feel they could have done more with him.
Behind the scenes, it was reassuring to know that Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson wrote Bill & Ted: Face The Music. In fact, together they wrote the whole Bill and Ted trilogy. Ed Solomon is also among the producers of this movie, including Steven Soderbergh as an Executive Producer. So it was nice to know they got the band back together on this one. A smart choice Hollywood dudes.
The ending to Bill & Ted: Face The Music was pitch perfect and feels like the kind of crescendo the world needs right now. Make sure to stay after the end credits, more laughs are to be had. This movie fits well within the trilogy. Bill & Ted 3 is a satisfying ending to this series, I hope it stays that way. Art endures, it always lives on, let’s end on a high note shall we?
Curt Wiser is a filmmaker and author, he is happy to watch movies and share thoughts on them with the world.