“Bill & Ted Face the Music” Review: Why the world needs to hear the music

A “Bill & Ted Face the Music” movie review

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Brent Gelick/Talon

“Bill & Ted Face the Music” was released on August 27, 2020, around 30 years after its original release.

Get back in your phone booth and prepare for another most excellent adventure the entire crew is back for one last hurrah as Bill & Ted return to the silver screen.

Screenwriters and producers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon have once again returned and written the script for Bill & Ted’s latest adventure, “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” Taking place almost 30 years after the events of “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” Bill & Ted, played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves respectively, are now musical washouts who have yet to write “the song” that will bring about universal harmony. When they are warned they have a little more than an hour to write the song before space and time collapse, the titular duo travel forward in time to steal the song from their future selves.

Meanwhile, Bill & Ted’s daughters Billie and Thea, played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving respectively, assemble a band of famous musicians to assist their fathers in performing their harmonious song. So begins the final chapter in Bill & Ted’s universal story.

When a studio attempts to resurrect a nostalgic franchise after many years and delays, it usually turns out a pretty bad product. “Dumb and Dumber To,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “The Godfather: Part III” and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” all took more than a decade to be released and were met with mixed to poor receptions. 

The studio that owned the rights to Bill & Ted were also apprehensive about bringing the middle aged duo to the big screen. However, with the success of Keanu’s career in hit films such as “Toy Story 4” and “John Wick,” as well as a positive fan response to the idea of another sequel, the ball started rolling on the third movie. Was it worth it?

Where “Bill & Ted Face the Music” succeeds is that it never rehashes the story of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” or “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and feels like the natural progression of Bill & Ted’s story. It also takes place in real time, meaning the clock above your TV is the same clock running in the movie. This means that it feels short for an already brief runtime of about an hour and a half, making for a relatively breezy and accessible movie experience. 

Keanu and Winter fall right back into their roles nearly 30 years later and the film is all the better for it. The story allows them to flex their acting muscles, as they play four different versions of their future selves. Each scene becomes increasingly more funny than the last and captures the original chemistry between the main duo really nicely.

Lundy-Paine and Weaving chew up the screen as Bill & Ted’s daughters and add a lot of heart to the adventure. The daughters’ journey introduces us to several historical musicians from days past and future, who are all perfectly cast and all shine in their supporting roles. Jeremiah Craft is definitely the standout among the ensemble, with an uncanny Louis Armstrong impression. Watching all these musicians discover the music of the past and future is surprisingly poignant and rather touching. 

The story also sees some new faces with the introduction of the time-traveling killer robot Dennis Caleb McCoy, played by actor Anthony Carrigan, who might be the best new addition to the series. William Sadler reprises his role as Death whose character is much funnier than the name would usually entail   and adds a lot of surprising depth and levity in what could have easily been written as a toss-away cameo.

All this comes to head in a surprisingly satisfying conclusion that manages to tie up all loose ends. Though the story can feel fractured at times, it’s a wonderfully delightful sequel that was well worth the wait. The movie is filled with so much genuine passion and creativity that for it to go unnoticed would be wholly unjust. Stream it on Amazon Prime Video and party on dudes!