BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Not too long ago, I reviewed the Blu-ray of “Moonstruck,” which I had seen while in high school in the 80s with a date and hated. Upon a subsequent viewing more than 20 years later, I realized that the movie was actually a quality flick. I showed my review to the girl I had been dating at the time, and she had a great “See, I told you so” moment.
Not long after she and I had seen “Moonstruck,” I dragged her to “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Not surprisingly, I loved that film, but it was a total eye-roller for her. I can’t say whether she’d like the movie any more 20+ years in the future (probably not), but I still love it. In fact, I might love it even more today than I did when I was an 80s high school student contemporary of Bill and Ted.
“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” gets a new Blu-ray release in 2012, and it’s still a great flick. Telling the story of two high school slackers who get help from a time-traveling guru to finish their history report, this film works well because of its absurdity rather than in spite of it.
No matter what decade you grew up in, everyone knew someone like Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan. These guys weren’t just slackers; they were loveable slackers. They had great hearts and passion for what they loved. It is their child-like wonder that takes them through the movie that makes it work. And it’s this attitude that makes what might seem like an edgy comedy of the day actually be a somewhat wholesome PG-rated flick.
The film followed a time-traveling DeLorean by only a few years, but it had a uniqueness. Even the use of a phone booth as a time-traveling device (a not-so-subtle tip of the hat to “Doctor Who”) seems like a brilliantly silly plot device.
Sure, to today’s audience, it will seem quite antiquated. After all, do phone booths even exist any more? Other key uses of old-school devices like tape recorders and Walkmans won’t faze the modern fan. The essence of the story about two good-hearted ne’er-do-wells and contemporary locations like the local mall, bowling alleys and water parks are still relateable today.
Of course, the true timelessness of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” comes from the hard-to-grasp relateability of history. High school kids today might still know Julius Caesar as “the salad dressing dude” and Napoleon as “the short, dead dude.” Catching a whimsical look at historical figures like Socrates, Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc is still a ton of fun.
I can’t speak for what might come of the often-rumored “Bill & Ted 3,” but I can say the film holds up for myself. More over, my kids, who are just shy of the quintessential “Bill & Ted” age watched it with me, and they loved it.
The new Blu-ray comes with some special features that have been imported from previous DVD releases. These include the theatrical trailer, radio spots and the pilot episode of the “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures” Saturday morning cartoon. Additional features include “The Original Bill & Ted: In Conversation with Chris & Ed” and “Air Guitar Tutorial with Bjorn Turoque & The Rockness Monster.”