Reunion films are tricky. They have to rekindle the magic that made them successful in the first place, be new and innovative enough to entice a new generation and, please life-long fans who’ve been writing the new installment in their heads for years.
Comedy films are doubly tricky, as society’s sensibilities change so much during a hiatus of a decade or longer. But, where the likes of Dumb and Dumber to and, Jay and Silent Bob reboot fell. Bill & Ted Face the Music soars.
It’s been 29 years since Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, but Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves instantly fall back into their titular roles. It’s like they’ve never been away.
Our heroes are still trying to write the song that will unite the world. They’re older now, but they remain just as kind-hearted, as when we last saw them.
After a hilarious session at couples therapy, Bill and Ted are visited by Kelly (Kristen Schaal), the daughter of their future-dwelling mentor Rufus (named after Carlin’s real-life daughter), who brings news of universe ending proportions.
What follows is a fun adventure, told mostly in real-time, written by the franchise creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. The duo have delivered a most outstanding script. They’ve allowed Bill and Ted to grow and evolve, they’re still recognisably the characters we fell in love with in 1988. But they’ve changed, as we all do.
There are enough callbacks to the prior films, to please fans. But nothing that would put off a newcomer. William Sadler as Death remains a highlight, he’s so absurd and uncool, that he ends up being most triumphant.
The handling of the late great George Carlin’s Rufus is done with love, respect, and admiration. It even brought a tear to my eye.
Whilst Bill & Ted are off having adventures, we also follow their daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving), who are traveling through time, attempting to assemble the greatest band of all time to help their dads fulfill their destiny. Both are completely believable as the daughters of Bill & Ted, I would happily take a spin-off with these two at the helm.
If any criticism can be leveled at this, it’s in the handling of Bill & Ted’s wives Elizabeth and Joanna. We barely see them. However, with a runtime of only 91 minutes, some characters are always going to feel underserved. Hopefully, we’ll get a comic book, that shows us the princess’s adventure.
The entire film is an utter delight from start to finish. Their careers may have taken them in vastly different directions over the years, but Reeves and Winter have remained very close. That trust, natural chemistry, and understanding absolutely shines through.
This film offers a message of love, hope, unity, friendship, and, an utter joy for music. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, Bill & Ted Face the Music is a shining beacon of pure unadulterated pleasure. It might just save the universe.
Stay for the end credits.
Bill and Ted Face The Music will come to UK cinemas on September 16th.