Review by Seirce Mhac Conghail
As the last in a series which began in the 80s, Bill & Ted Face the Music (Dean Parisot, 2020) is as goofy, whacky, and hyperactive as any of the previous movies. Yet in this idiot comedy, the idiots have to wise up. The film finds them as middle-aged, beer-bellied has-beens; their marriages are floundering and they are totally failing in their prophetic mission to unite the world through a single song. When pressed to perform the song before the imminent collapse of all reality, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) take off through time to track down their future selves and find it, as it has never been written. Their daughters, Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving), concurrently rocket through time to enlist a band of the greatest musicians to help their fathers. On the way they meet Mozart (Daniel Dorr), Kid Cudi (himself), and reenlist Death himself (William Sadler) as their hooded bassist.
This film includes some good old new-fashioned values, with optimism, kindness and even – if possible – a type of delicacy.
Billie and Thea are charming additions; as near-mirrors of their clownish fathers, they nevertheless provide the freshness necessary when translating an older franchise to 2020. This film has the same writers as the original, which is impressive given its smooth adaption to a totally different era. The challenge is a particularly daunting one. For films a generation apart, slacker heroes whose speech is littered with ‘bro’, ‘dude’, and ‘Van Halen’, are merely a superficial difference. Many mainstream values have fundamentally changed since the 1980s, and the balance has been incrementally shifting over recent years with blockbusters now having a generally more liberal approach when it comes to representation and morals in films. The word incrementally should again be stressed here. Yet this film includes some good old new-fashioned values, with optimism, kindness and even – if possible – a type of delicacy.
On paper, Bill & Ted Face the Music is certainly another example of Hollywood’s obsession with franchise. The American film industry is currently churning out content aimed at ensnaring loyalty from viewers, be that from nostalgic remakes, reboots, or endless sagas. It’s a trend that bears no sign of elapsing, despite many of these films ultimately falling flat under the open desire for profit over content. Bill & Ted Face the Music is not such a film. While certainly part of a franchise, it never loses sight of its heart: adventure, absurdity, and most importantly, to “be excellent to each other.”