The Wyld Stallyns still rock. That’s really the gist of what most want to know about this new movie, twenty five plus years after the last movie. As in grand tradition in Hollywood, instead of making something new, toss out a remake or super belated sequel to a dead or dormant franchise with possibly a few original actors who can’t do as good of a job as their younger versions did. While that may be the case for most of these modern sequels, it doesn’t hold water with this Bill & Ted movie.
Bill & Ted was always the weird, mostly forgotten 80’s Time Travel movie, but it’s still held in pretty high regard from mostly anyone who was around when it came out. I was really young when the first one came out, but I had the toys and watched the cartoon, and had the movie on VHS. When the sequel came out a few years later, I both loved and was scared of it. With Bill & Ted being murdered, going to hell, talking to satan, having their own personal version of Hell forced upon them, talking to the Grim Reaper and having to deal with the alien Station (who reminds me more of the troll from Ernest Scared Stupid)… It really wasn’t a kids movie, yet I still loved it.
As I grew older, I still held the movies up as some of my favorites in the “80’s” genre. When the second movie ended, there really wasn’t something left open for another film. But after so many other movies from our favorite neon infused decade, everything is getting remade or an unnecessary sequel. With Keanu having a massive renaissance of a career with the John Wick movies, it was only time holding us back from getting another Bill & Ted movie. But enough of the history lesson, what about the actual flick?
Since Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are both in their 50’s, they can’t play high school drop-outs anymore, so the timeline has jumped to the present day, and Bill & Ted are now middle aged husbands/dads. Their kids now grown to about how old they themselves were in the second movie. With a bit of Hollywood rewriting, Bill & Ted’s sons are now daughters, and the original princesses are changed for different actresses. Sadly Rufus passed away in real life too, so they bring in Hazel Wassername as Rufus’ daughter as well. None of this is really that big of a deal, but it’s something that does change the movie a bit.
Alex and Keanu are the real only reasons to watch this movie, and although the movie itself might feel a bit weird and with what some would call “dated” dialogue, I think they do a fantastic job. They fit right back into their roles with ease and it’s just an insanely fun and enjoyable experience watching these two hang out again after all these years. Whenever you see movies like this, you can tell everyone is having fun. The emphasis of this movie is to make something enjoyable and have fun doing it. It’s still work, but it’s not a movie built in a boardroom created by a bunch of executives. These are the movies that should be made more.
Rant out of the way, the movie is sadly not perfect. It does have some dragging parts, which all have to do with the B plot of the movie. The daughters do a fine job mimicking their dad’s every voice and mannerism, but it’s pretty distracting, and can be confused with bad acting. I don’t personally think they do a bad job, I think they weren’t given anything more than “just be chick versions of Bill and Ted”. Their plot basically rehashes the first movie, where they travel through time to pick up famous dudes and dudettes from history, this time only being musicians as they have to form a truly bodacious band. There really isn’t much to it, other than seeing famous people and it lingers on some of the people way more than it needed to. It also just breaks up the flow of the movie.
The single actual “Bad” part of the movie is the robot created to chase down Bill & Ted through time and kill them. The robot looks weird because the costume isn’t believable. It’s more a spandex suit with light plastic armor placed on. Even that wouldn’t be so bad, but this is where the modern writing style has shoehorned itself in. The robot breaks character completely and becomes a whining sniveling man-child instead of any sort of threat. The rest of the movie he is treated with the same reverence as Jar Jar Binks. It’s really a bummer as this is the only part of the movie, which is only an hour and a half long, that I actually disliked.
Most of the movie I was smiling throughout. I laughed out loud with hearty chuckles quite a few times, and the stinger at the end of the credits just gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Is it the equivalent of the greatest song every written, in movie form? No. Far from it. But it is nowhere near as bogus as what it could have been. It’s the quintessential buddies getting back together and making a fun project to relieve a bit of their past glory and make something for their fans who also have made the first two films the cult classics they are today.