Director: Dean Parisot
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Kristen Schaal, William Sadler
Written by: (also based on the characters created) Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon
Running Time: 91 mins
Release date: 16th September 2020
Bill S. Preston Esquire and Theodore Logan are back! An announcement that might not excite many cinema-goers born this side of the 21st Century. However, those who lived through the 1989 original, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the 1991 Bill and Ted’ Bogus Journey, will be delighted. Their favourite time-travelling slackers return a lot older but none the wiser. While this long-awaited third movie is a shambles from start to finish, it is also a positive, thoroughly entertaining way to spend 91 minutes in the cinema.
Thirty years have gone since Bill and Ted won the battle of the bands. In that time, they have become rock successes with Wild Stallyns and massive, crushing disasters, leading them to play experimental music at weddings, while still trying to find that song which will save the universe. With their marriage on the rocks, the guys are visited by Kelly, Rufus’s daughter from the future. Without that song, destiny will fail. So while Bill and Ted go off to steal the piece from their future selves, their daughters, Billie and Thea, who adore their fathers, head off to create the perfect band.
It has to be said that to experience the full joy of Bill and Ted Face The Music, it really would help if you are familiar with the previous films. It can be enjoyed as a stand-alone movie, but this has been made for the fans. Considering the fans were the ones who got this made in the first place. A script, by the creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, had been written eight years ago but they couldn’t get anyone to take on the project. Thanks to the fans demanding it be made, we now have this, brimming with references to the past, bringing back characters and keeping the leads firmly in the past even though they are now middle-aged men.
The collecting on historical figures, taken from the first film, is connected by the realms of hell and the return of the grim reaper from the second film. All are mixed with new characters, one particular, who, like Death and Napoleon from the first film, steals the movie. This time it’s a killer robot with a conscious called Dennis. On top of that are the boys’ daughters, an almost carbon copy of their fathers.
The plot is a mess, as they stumble around time trying to find their song from their future selves. Nothing makes sense, Nothing connects. Yet who cares? The film is full of inventive ideas, likeable characters and jokes that, while never side-splitting, manage to make you grin throughout when familiar faces pop up, a sense of comfort set in, as we can relax from the activities outside the darkened cinema auditorium.
Yet it is Bill and Ted, who you feel the most comfort. They may look older, but they are none the wiser. They think they have the answers and using the best time machine this side of a DeLorean. They are convinced the way forward to save their destiny, and the worlds are to steal the magical song from themselves. Bumping into various versions of themselves in the future, it allows for some excellent developments of the two leads. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters have turned these two bodacious dudes into cinematic icons, and here they don’t ruin the memories. You can tell that they like each others company and they enjoy playing these characters. All the traits are there from the 80s catchphrases to the air guitars. Yet the whole thing is done with pure affection.
Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine are impressive as the daughters, Thea and Billie. The females take on the characteristics of their fathers, determined to help their fathers but having the same level of naive innocence as them. William Sadler, the star of the second film, also returns as Death and while he never gets to steal the movie this time, its a joy to see him back. This time, it’s the robot called Dennis, who gets the biggest laughs. Anthony Carrigan makes this creation a hoot, as a killer who wants to be liked, and who is always apologising. It’s a terrific welcome addition.
Bill and Ted Face The Music maybe bemusing to those not familiar with the series. Those who love the previous films will find themselves in for a treat. While it is rubbish and often shambolic, it is charming and delightfully lacking in cynicism. At this time, when there are very few laughs, this is an absolute tonic. Party on, dudes!