Bill and Ted Face the Music lands in theaters tomorrow. It’s a sequel 30 years in the making that was entirely worth the wait!
As the film opens, we find Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) performing a song at Ted’s brother’s wedding to Missy (Amy Stoch). You remember Missy. She was their step-mom back in the first film.
After a disastrous couples’ therapy session with their wives following the wedding, the guys arrive home–they’re now next door neighbors–to discover that they have indeed, not written the song that will save the universe and worse, the very fabric of time and space is being ripped apart.
With that, we’re off to the races. As Bill and Ted rush out to restore reality, their daughters Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) stumble upon a new and improved time travel pod and set out to round up a killer band to help their dads out.
This film was honestly just about everything that a fan of Bill & Ted could want in a sequel, and I’ll admit that it made me feel like a kid again as I settled in for this latest adventure.
Director Dean Parisot assembled a number of familiar faces from the previous films to accompany Reeves and Winter including William Sadler as Death, Hal Landon, Jr. as Ted’s father, and the previously mentioned Stoch. It was a brilliant move to tie the film back to its predecessors, and it was astonishing how seamlessly all of these actors slipped back into their roles.
Yet with all its nostalgia, the new cast of characters are regularly allowed to steal the show.
Weaving and Lundy-Paine are absolutely incredible as the duo’s daughters. They are almost more Bill and Ted than Winter and Reeves, bringing that youthful energy from the first films to the mix.
Likewise, Kristen Schaal is hilarious in the role of Rufus’s daughter, Kelly. More intense than her father, but dedicated to his mission, Schaal delivers every line with a razor-sharp wit that cuts through all of the various agendas going on around her especially with Holland Taylor as the new Great Leader.
Of course this wouldn’t be a Bill and Ted movie without a smattering of historic musicians. Always an adventure, this one went just a little strange. While Jimi Hendrix (DazMann Still), Louis Armstrong (Jeremiah Craft), and Mozart (Daniel Dorr) are all along for the ride, the ladies also pick up Ling Lun (Sharon Gee)–the mythic founder of music in China given a fun gender-swap–and Grom (Patty Anne Miller), a cavewoman and a badass drummer.
This shiny new cast is the film’s ultimate saving grace.
Writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson rightfully remembered that even the most nostalgic sequel must still move the story forward. They chose a route that not only honors what came before but also breathes new life into this particular tale that could very well open the door to more storytelling in this universe.
What struck me most about the film, however, is just how timely it seems.
Though it was made long before Covid-19 struck and protests broke out across the U.S. in particular, the film’s message of being kind and respectful to one another and that there are universal needs that can bring us together when we put aside our prejudices and fear is one that the world sorely needs right now.
That’s not a new idea in this franchise, by the way, for those who might think the movie suddenly got political. Go back and watch the original. It’s there, as well. You were just too young to pick up on it.
As the credits rolled on Bill and Ted Face the Music, I honestly felt better. The film actually lifted my spirits and put me in a good mood. Maybe it’s the time travel. Maybe it’s the music. Maybe it’s the trippy escapades in Hell with Death. Something about it works, and if you’re a fan of the first two films, then this sequel is an absolute must-see.
Bill and Ted Face the Music is out in theaters and on digital platforms on August 28, 2020.