One of my most anticipated movies of this very weird, very empty summer has finally arrived in the form of “Bill & Ted: Face the Music,” a sequel that nobody asked for to a pair of movies from my childhood that I consider masterpieces.
Fortunately, “Face the Music” is an enjoyable film. It does not compare to the silly brilliance of the original movies, and the plot is all over the place, but it’s a fun enough romp and a welcome return to these characters. If ever a movie did not need to be made, a third Bill & Ted film 30-some years after the fact is definitely it.
But it’s here, it’s fine and it’s nice to have a feel good movie in 2020. “Bill & Ted: Face the Music” is available on video-on-demand.
Back in 1989 and 1991 respectively, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” sent a pair of dopey best pals on a couple of wild rides. In the first film, they traveled through time, and in its sequel, they traveled through the afterlife. The duo’s garage band, Wyld Stallyns, was destined to write a song that would bring about world peace.
In my youth, these two films were wonderful. They’re silly, funny, charming and really adventurous, and they definitely hold up for repeat viewings even today. There was no reason to make a third all these years later, but I guess the people involved just really wanted to make another one. Stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are back, along with the original “Bill & Ted” writers. That definitely counts for something.
In the new film, 30 years have passed and Wyld Stallyns has never written that world-changing song. Instead, Bill and Ted are washed up musicians, barely holding their marriages together, and with two dopey daughters who are just like them. Time travelers from the future arrive to warn the duo that, if they don’t come up with the song immediately, the entire universe will be destroyed.
So Bill and Ted have a brilliant idea: they should travel to the future to when they have written the song and just take it from themselves. Meanwhile, their daughters, Billie and Thea, get their own time machine and start traveling into the past to recruit the greatest musicians of all time to be in the band.
Watch “Bill & Ted: Face the Music” for the nostalgia. On its own, the movie is a little nutso. It’s less than an hour and a half long, but it is crammed with enough plots and subplots to make three whole new movies. The film does its best to juggle these different plots but it mostly fails. “Face the Music” is all over the place with weird ideas, weird characters and weird plot contrivances.
But none of that really matters in the end because the movie, at least for longtime fans, is just so likable. Keanu Reeves and especially Alex Winter dive right back into these classic roles with gusto, and the characters are just as much fun as in the old days. All the weird stuff is actually pretty neat. And the movie has an overall positive message baked into its very core.
Fans of the original “Bill & Ted” movies should not be disappointed with this third film. It maintains the charm, the joy and the upbeat themes of the classics.