The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequel, Bogus Journey, are two of a kind. They’re the films that you put on when you’re having a bad day and need a good cheering up. Are they masterful storytelling? No. But they’re both fun time travel films featuring one of the best dynamic duos ever put to film. So can the long awaited Bill & Ted Face The Music live up to the other two in the series, making a fitting end to the Bill & Ted trilogy? Let’s find out.
Director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) takes on the final film in the Bill & Ted trilogy and brings back everything we loved about the first two films into this one, with the help of returning scribes Soloman and Matheson. Face The Music pulls off what so many long awaited sequels fail to do properly, and that’s making the final entry simulate a film that would actually fit in the Bill & Ted universe. They don’t try to modernize the film to an insane degree, which is something that seems to be a fascination of later entries in series such as the excessive use of technology (cell phones, laptops, exc.). As far as I can recall there wasn’t even a second of modern technology being put into use. Parisot’s energy fully exerts what the filmmaker would have brought to a sequel to Galaxy Quest if things would have gone to plan; the film is comedic, smartly timed, and completely draws you into the story at hand – a story that’s been going on for over thirty years.
Bill & Ted Face The Music is written by the same screenwriters as the original two films, something that many delayed sequels don’t have the luxury of. So Ed Soloman and Chris Matheson have had a direct connection to these characters for decades and are able to bring Bill & Ted back to the big screen, with the help of the most triumphant chemistry from the returning leads. Taking a note from the original film and combining it with some of the best elements of the sequel (such as William Sadler’s Death), Face The Music relishes in the fanfare but has its own original spin to make it not feel like a total rehash of the first two films. Going in blind (intentionally skipping every trailer for the film), I was met with such a creative narrative that drove home the legacy of Bill & Ted in a most excellent way.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter return to their roles with almost no hesitancy, and it feels as though these actors have been embodying these characters for decades now, never dropping the act. Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan are truly back, and unlike other sequels made years after the previous entry (Zoolander 2, Dumb & Dumber), the chemistry remains electric between the two. The returning chemistry between Reeves and Winters provides hope that someday others will step forward and we’ll get another go with the likes of Myers and Carvey hitting the big screen once again. All of the supporting cast knocks their roles out of the park. With so many to name, it would become tedious, with the likes of “the princesses,” Death, Rufus, Missy, and Ted’s father returning and newcomers spread throughout, bringing their all to make this one a most excellent time, led by the surprisingly charming daughters of Bill & Ted: Thea & Billie as played by Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Bill & Ted Face The Music Is Most Excellent
Visually speaking, the film has its limitations; it tries a ton with its CGI, such as a genuinely heartfelt acknowledgement of George Carlin’s Rufus, and Face The Music doesn’t always pull it off. Although with an exponentially lower budget than a film with these kinds of effects would normally have, a lot of these flaws can be overlooked. However when the digital effects occasionally fall flat, the choice to use practical makeup for Death once again, our robot assassin and all the future iterations of Bill & Ted, more than makes up for those minor CGI gripes.
Bill & Ted Face The Music (2020) | CINEMAS / VOD
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
For a film titled Face The Music, the music aspect of the film, apart from the closing, is very minimal. While I did care for Mark Isham’s score as it helped bring in even more nostalgia by sharing similar themes with the first two entries, there seemed to be something prominently missing. From time to time, the score would overstay its welcome and while not being entirely distracting, it does have a tendency to jump in during comedic dynamite between past and future Bill & Teds.
There are so many words from Bill & Ted’s vocabulary that could have described Face The Music. But which properly describes the sensation at long last of having a finalized and fully competent trilogy in the year 2020? Well, heinous and odious are off the table. Bill & Ted Face The Music is everything I wanted from a third entry and more. Reeves and Winter bring the same unrivaled chemistry to their roles, and the choice to bring back the original screenwriters makes this a true finale for the Bill & Ted legacy. So how would I describe Bill & Ted Face The Music? Triumphant, stellar, and most excellent!