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Film Review: Bill and Ted Face the Music

Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Kristen Schaal

Synopsis: Once told they’d save the universe during a time-travelling adventure, two would-be rockers from San Dimas, California find themselves as middle-aged dads still trying to crank out a hit song and fulfil their destiny.



If you are entering this movie as a fan of the first two films, you will be glad to know that you will be hit by some nostalgia. With returning characters including the Princesses and Death, the good old time-travelling phone booth (which in itself feels nostalgic at this point) and the same heart and warmth that the other films shared, this entry does feel like it fits straight into the pre-existing world and the progression of the story works with that.

There are two main plots that this film follows, with the secondary one showing Bill and Ted’s daughters (played by Weaving and Lundy-Paine) forming the ultimate band to play the song that Bill and Ted will use to save the world. This ended up being the best part of the film, with both Weaving and Lundy-Paine having so much fun with the roles that they were given. Not only are they both as quirky and humourous as Reeves and Winter were when they first entered the role, but their storyline was also well developed and entertaining to watch in comparison to the rest of the film.

The idea of this story is not the most original, but then again it doesn’t need to be. This is a concept that I can guarantee many of us have thought about, and leads to discussion on which musicians we would take if we had to make the ultimate band or create the ultimate song. This is what the Bill and Ted franchise is about. Taking ideas and popular figures that we know and love and seeing what could be done with them and what it would be like to have them here and now. It is what makes this particular series so charming, and the best moments of this film are when the past interacts with the present.

Whilst the storyline with the daughters are entertaining, I sadly never had that same connection or care for the main storyline with Bill and Ted themselves. Whilst they had some fun one-liners and some twists that were well done (particularly with a surprise cameo that I will not even hint at the star), I found myself feeling disconnected from the story whenever they appeared on screen. It was not only their music-based storyline, but the plot between them and their wives, the Princesses. There was a set idea and premise for that storyline, but it became obvious that either due to budget or another issue behind-the-scenes that their scenes got drastically cut in the final script, which is a shame as it meant there was no real progression on what could have been a solid side-story and also helped the pacing out.

It takes a while for the movie to find the tone it wants to go for and to break away from the past, and it never fully escapes the past. Whilst the humour of the Bill and Ted characters may work when they are awkward teenagers in the 1990s, it does not work in the same way when they are adults in 2020. This is part of the reason why the storyline with the daughters work better, because the style of humour works for that age range. This is a film that from the first minute feels like it belonged back in the 1990s, and I just wish they broke away from that style of humour a little bit.

I didn’t know how I would feel about this film going in. Some of my reservations about the film were right, as I feel like the original Bill and Ted films were a product of their time and the humour doesn’t land as well in the current times. However, once the film grew out of simply being the old humour and developed its own ideas, the film started to grow on me as well. I left the cinema having had a fun time and getting sucked in with the heart of it all, and that may just be what the world needs during these tough times.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Have you had a chance to check out Bill and Ted Face the Music yet? Are you a fan of the original two films? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.

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