Review: Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Bill and Ted: Face the Music is a nice trip down nostalgia lane reminding us that not every movie needs to be made to win awards. Revisiting characters long forgotten feels great to me in my 30’s but the “No way” and “dude” culture may be missed on those who didn’t grow up with the originals.

PLOT AND STORY

Set 30 years after the original Excellent Adventure, Face the Music follows Bill and Ted as they are still trying to create that one song which saves the universe. There isn’t a whole lot else to say about the story apart from the fact that Bill and Ted’s daughters come along for the ride this time. 

As we travel through time, once again collecting a rag tag group of legendary figures I couldn’t help but feel the whole movie was a simple homage to the originals. The story isn’t layered with subplot on subplot and you don’t need to have seen the originals to understand what’s going on as Rufus’ daughter Kelly spells out very early on to the audience exactly what is about to happen.

Some people might find this lazy or unoriginal writing but I would call them people wrong. Yes this movie had a lot of similarities to the original but that’s what I think makes this movie. It reminds me of what Kevin Smith did recently with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, by taking a much loved film and remaking it for the same audience who have also aged like Bill and Ted. I don’t need this franchise to be completely restarted with a whole new young and dynamic cast because to me that would feel like it’s trying to take away some of the magic the originals created.

Writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon wrote both the originals meaning there was nobody better to come along and make this movie. They have taken characters they created and given them a fresh coat of paint and a polish and given the franchise’s original fans a snippet into how their future turned out. In doing so they may just pick up some new fans along the road because the script is pretty damn funny. Bill and Ted encounter future versions of themselves and the exchanges between the 4 of them had me laughing quite a few times.

CAST

Keano Reeves returns as Ted Logan and Alex Winter returns as Bill Preston along with some other familiar faces. William Sadler reprises his role as Death who once again steals every scene he is in. Hal Landon Jr returns as Ted’s Dad police chief Logan as does his ex wife Missy played once again by Amy Stoch. As with the originals it really is the Bill and Ted show with Reeves and Winter picking up their personalities like it was only last week they played the characters last, not 30 years ago. One thing was very clear in watching Reeves and Winter return to the roles which was how much fun they must have had making this movie. Keano Reeves in particular has gone on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet and seeing him play a role with such freedom and immaturity was a refreshing change from his regular uptight action roles.

Face the Music also recruited a young and funny supporting cast who helped give the movie its modern feel while not taking away any of the thunder from its stars. Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine play the daughters Thea and Bille and try their best to imitate the characters their fathers were in the originals. Both show genuine talent in portraying such unique characters and I’m sure both have a bright future ahead of them. Kristen Schaal takes on the Rufus role in this movie playing his daughter Kelly and she does a great job bringing energy to the character. Schaal is very well known for her voice acting career so it makes a nice change to see her in front of the camera.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION

Director Dean Parisot who is best known for movies like Galaxy Quest and Fun with Dick and Jane managed to recreate the same style and aesthetics as the original movies. These are not movies trying to deliver incredibly difficult and intricate shots to win cinematography awards but they still have a certain style. What stood out for me was certain shots like when Bill and Ted are in the phone box and the way they are crammed in with a tight angle close up of them as it travels through time. This again simply playing into my nostalgia for the originals enhances my enjoyment.

San Dimas and Hell are basically the only places we travel to in this movie but the unsung heroes of this production for me are the set designers. Every single scene is littered with Easter eggs to the originals. It could be Bill and Ted’s garage with posters on the wall from their final concert in the finale of Excellent Adventure. In future San Dimas we get a glimpse of their original guitars and at Death’s house in Hell there is a shrine to his career, including a magazine cover from the credits scene in Excellent Adventure. These are the moments which stood out visually for me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Face the Music feels like it was made specifically for me, someone who has had genuine conversations with friends about what Bill and Ted would be up to these days. It encapsulated everything which was great from the originals and redelivers it for a modern audience. I’m not convinced this will be as much a hit with today’s younger audience like the originals as a lot of the style is still stuck in the 90’s but I do believe people young and older will get plenty of laughs from this fun and entertaining movie. The pure nostalgic joy was enough for me.

I watched this at Vue Cinema and received no incentive to review this movie.

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