Our At HOME in the 80’s season is in full swing. HOME Digital Reporter Ryan Lee Gregory reviews Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…
It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when Keanu Reeves wasn’t the brooding action star we know and love today. It’s also hard to believe that Alex Winter was once a successful actor and director in his own right. Although their career paths have greatly diverged over the years there was a point in the early 90s following Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequel that both Reeves and Winter seemed on the cusp of greatness. Whereas Reeves went on to star in Point Break, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Speed Winter became the star and creator of the highly successful (but very short-lived) MTV sketch-show The Idiot Box. As Winter struggled through troubled productions from which his career seemingly never recovered, Reeves continued to plough his own furrow in the acting world with successes throughout the 90s like A Walk In The Clouds and The Devil’s Advocate eventually culminating in the role that would define his career, Neo in The Matrix. Now, like Hollywood’s version of a High School Reunion, the two have decided to relive their former glories and in May 2018 it was confirmed they had jumped onboard the third instalment in the Bill & Ted franchise, Bill & Ted Face The Music.
Therefore, what better excuse to dust off the air guitar and, like the eponymous characters, take a journey back in time (bogus or otherwise) and relive our first introduction to the world’s favourite dim-witted, aspiring-rock star duo (sorry Wayne and Garth).
We meet our two heroes as they are singular focused on making their garage band a success but with the threat of failing class and being sent to military school looming over their heads Bill and Ted must find a way to ace their history presentation. That is when George Carlin’s Rufus drops out of the sky in his phone-booth-cum-time-machine allowing the two high schoolers to use it to round up important historical figures in order to pass their presentation.
We follow Bill & Ted as they fumble their way through history and an episodic narrative which wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fluid or as fun if the 2 leads weren’t so likable. The loveable idiot bungling through a situation where they are completely out of their depth and ill-equipped for is a tried and tested troupe of film & TV comedy, from the wonderful with The Big Lebowski to the almost unwatchable with The Internship. Therefore, the film lives and dies by how much you want to spend more time with the characters and, as evidenced by a new film coming out more than three decades after the original, Bill and Ted certainly tick this box.
However, as we reached the half way mark and we rapidly jumped through one time period after time period in an almost extended montage sequence the comedic moments do swiftly dry up. Like with many comedies Bill & Ted suffers because the narrative must be moved forward and the laughs are forced to take a backseat. That being said the film never feels like a chore to watch. Although the runtime is a very economic 90 minutes, I was still pleasantly surprised by how quickly it flew by as I was willing Bill and Ted to bring Billy The Kid, Joan Of Arc, and Beethoven (Beef Oven to his friends) in time to finish their presentation. Thus in summary the film, although not excellent, is still an adventure, and an enjoyable one at that.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure screens here at HOME at 18:20 on Wed 19 Dec. Find out more and book tickets here.