Most excellent! Bill and Ted are returning, virus or not, to our screens in 2020 with the long awaited Bill and Ted Face the Music, and so a re-issue of the original film makes sense. But there’s something we need to get out of the way first, and that’s homophobia. Amongst the many catchphrases from the original movie, re-issued with a bucket of extras here, Bill and Ted’s gay panic is something that needs to be addressed, specifically the use of the word ‘f*g’. To unpack; Bill and Ted is a character comedy, and part of the humour comes for their idiocy. Bill and Ted are sexist young men, men-children can’t get over the idea that women are ‘babes’ and have a childish view of sex. Rather than edit the original film, it’s best that the jokes remains in place, and all it takes is a brief, cautionary notice as featured here to explain why.
And now that this super-serious intro is done, we can kick back and party on. This was a notable break-out comedy that deservedly won a large cult following on release. It’s a satire on bromance, with Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as two high-schoolers (San Dimas!) who travel in time to collect together a collection of historical personages for presentation. From So-crates to Joan of Arc, from Genghis Khan, Billy the Kid and Sigmund Freud, all of history is represented in their most bodacious story; there’s a history lesson here, or rather a mission to explain just why history is important in the days of shopping malls and air guitars.
Celebrating our own idiocy is nothing new; from Laurel and Hardy to Wayne and Garth, a comic twosome allows us to laugh at ourselves. Bill and Ted are funny because they’re self-seeking and vain, totally into their music (Van Halen!) and resolutely agreeable in outlook. As the original Bill and Ted, writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson discuss on the extras, what’s funny is the matter-of-fact way they deal with a slew of ridiculous circumstances. Nothing fazes Bill and Ted, from time-travel to medieval knights; they’re too genial for any of the complicated plot devices to cause them too much bother.
There’s a slew of extras here, from a commentary track by the writers, an episode of the animated show, a historical run down of personages involved, plenty to whet the appetite for their long-gestated return. The intervention of Dino de Laurentiis is also covered in detail, he was the unlikely saviour of Stephen Serek’s film. The production values for the Merrie England segment always looked good, but now we know why; the cast flew to Rome to shoot them. The take-away is that, as Matheson notes, it’s fun to talk like Bill & Ted, and with the one exception detailed above, it’s going to be fun to keep that good-humour going in the long, laughter-starved days of 2020. Most triumphant!
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is out now in the UK on 4K ULTRA HD, STEELBOOK, BLU-RAY™, DVD & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
Thanks to Studio Canal and Organic publicity for access to this film.
Amazon link below.