a critiQal film review Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Plot: Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) are having problems: if they don’t deliver a stellar oral history report, Ted will be sent to an Alaskan military school. But they're in luck: a visitor (Carlin) tells them that life is peaceful in the future thanks to the music of their band, Wyld Stallyns...and he's here to offer help in the form of a time machine. Now, Bill & Ted must race through time to collect famous figures from history to help them in their report - or the future is doomed.

553 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 45s)
  • ...a hilarious trip through time with two slackers that viewers will enjoy re-visiting time and again!

Ahh, the 80’s. The decade where cheesy films really came to the forefront, and all of America joined in the celebration. Bill & Ted personify that cheese in it’s truest form, and it’s a pleasure to just sit back and watch the fun. Amidst the multitude of 80’s sayings, such as “Bogus”, “Heinous” and “Excellent”, the two characters bring a nostalgic, yet overly simplified, look back at the decade of excess. If you haven’t seen Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, it’s a definite must-own for any fan of the 80’s.

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter kicked off their careers big-time with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and it’s sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991). Keanu Reeves has definitely shown more staying power than Alex Winters, since Alex has pretty much faded out after these two films and his other hit, The Lost Boys (1987).

Keanu, on the other hand, is still going strong today, with The Matrix (1999) series still running hot at the box office. That lasting star power is funny to see in it’s infancy in these films, and must be a fun look back even for Keanu.

Alex, on the other hand, probably has memorabilia everywhere from these two surprises from the 80’s, and most likely cries himself to sleep since his career has fallen by the wayside since.

The acting here isn’t particularly “excellent”, but it’s enough to keep the movie flowing. If they were to get together for a third film today, I don’t think it would work, since their youth and inexperience help to make them seem to embody their characters that much more. George Carlin even puts in an appearance in his first starring role in a film, and does a great job bringing his own comedy brilliance into his character.

The plot is truly original. Basing the future on these two goofs is a hilarious concept to begin with, and then throwing them through history and having them kidnap famous historical figures is a great idea. True, it doesn’t really work out from a scientific point-of-view, but their ability to forge on through any obstacle makes the two heroes just irresistible to the viewer. You are with them every step of the way, even as you laugh at what their bumbling gets them into. The true backbone of this film is the frank honest innocence they have of the world today. They never really question what happens to them, because they don’t know any better. And that’s what makes the films so enjoyable.

Special effects do leave a bit to be desired in some sequences, but the technology wasn’t as advanced then as it is now. They do a decent job of blending the real with the not-so-real, and there are only a moment or two that really stick out as being fake. Not too shabby for an 80’s film, especially one without a multi-gazillion dollar budget.

All in all, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a trip that must be taken. With it’s zany comedy appeal, and the true honesty and innocence that it’s characters embody, this film is a true 80’s classic, and a must-own for any DVD collection. Buy it today if you haven’t already. It’s something you’ll watch over and over again.

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