Bill & Ted Face The Music Review: Nostalgia-Fueled Time Travel Comedy
Movie title: Bill & Ted Face The Music
Movie description: The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been for a Bill and Ted, who are now married and parents, with a cataclysmic event occurring unless the Wyld Stallyns can perform a song that unites all of humanity through space and time.
In what’s been a very atypical year, it seems fitting for atypical movies to be released. Such is the case of Bill & Ted Face The Music, the final entry in the Bill & Ted trilogy. It has just the right amount of nostalgia to keep you interested if you were already a fan of the franchise but does very little to attract new fans or to stand as its own independent movie.
Director: Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, RED 2, Fun with Dick and Jane)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, William Sadler, Jayma Mays
In what’s been a very atypical year in every sense of the word, it seems fitting for atypical movies to be released. Such is the case of Bill & Ted Face the Music, the latest entry in the Bill & Ted trilogy and, presumably, the last. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter promised their fans to deliver a third movie starring the Wyld Stallyns, and the final results are a mixed bag of nostalgia.
For those who are not familiar, Bill & Ted Face the Music is a time travel comedy starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter and the third installment in the Bill & Ted trilogy. Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, RED 2, Fun with Dick and Jane) the movie was supposed to hit theaters this summer but due to ongoing pandemic, it was now released simultaneously in theaters and through video-on-demand services.
This time, we see Bill and Ted living their most perilous adventure to date: parenting and sustaining their marriages. It’s interesting to see how two seemingly one-dimensional characters deal with their everyday lives, as many fans who saw them on their Excellent Adventure could never picture Bill and Ted as family men; turns out, neither does their family. New to the series are Bill and Ted’s daughters, Billie and Thea. They are the protagonists of the film’s B-plot, where they travel to the past looking for musicians to join their parents’ band. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been for a Bill & Ted movie, with a cataclysmic event occurring unless the Wyld Stallyns can perform a song that unites all of humanity through space and time.
Nostalgia is a double-edged sword for Face the Music; the movie revels in its fan-service but seems to struggle when it comes to finding an identity of its own. You’ll see elements from Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey here and there, but the new characters simply lack much of the charm that made the original movies so popular with their audience.
Speaking of new characters, Billie and Thea, while being a central part of the movie’s plot, they aren’t allowed enough time to develop as characters. That’s understandable: Face the Music was born out of fans requesting a new Bill and Ted movie, so introducing new characters (that actually probe to be even more important than the titular characters) is always a gutsy move. Not only are their personalities underdeveloped, but the bond between Billie and Thea is also pretty much nonexistent. The main attraction of the original duo was to watch their antics and the banter between Bill and Ted; it’s hard to feel attached to a character whose only characteristic is “this is the daughter of X.”
Coming back to Reeves and Winter, seeing them reprise their roles in their 50s ties pretty spectacularly with the themes of the movie. Even though there’s been a lot of talking on the internet about Keanu Reeve’s “immortality,” it’s fair to say that Alex Winter kept his acting and his looks closer to his original appearance in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
On a positive note, the film has an air of finality to the stories of Bill and Ted; that means that we see what happens with their marriages, a reconciliation between Bill and his father, and the reason why the Wyld Stallyns were so loved in the future is finally fulfilled. For long-time Bill and Ted fans, this is the conclusion to the excellent adventures they know and love, and in most aspects, it delivers. The film’s conclusion is, without a doubt, the best scene of the movie. You can watch it, free of context, and still feel touched by it, even if it does end quite abruptly. Bill and Ted are a reflection of an era that seems long gone, but their message is still one that carries a lot of power. Indeed, in a year such as the one we’ve been living, we might learn a thing or two from the Wyld Stallyns, now that being “excellent to each other” seems more important than ever.
Bill & Ted Face the Music has just the right amount of nostalgia to keep you interested if you were already a fan of the franchise but does very little to attract new fans or to stand as its own independent movie.
You can watch or buy Bill & Ted Face The Music on Amazon.
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