Bill & Ted Face The Music Movie Review: A Most Excellent Escape

  • First Released Aug 28, 2020
  • movie

Bill and Ted are back after 30 years. But does Bill & Ted Face the Music live up to the legacy of the first two films?

Bill & Ted Face the Music is now available in select theaters and on digital release. Before you watch the movie, check out GameSpot's look on how the Face the Music never would have happened without the friendship of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, as well as an explanation of why there will likely never be a Bill & Ted 4.

It's been a rough year for practically everyone. Many of us are stuck at home, unable to see friends, go on vacations, or even make a simple trip to the movies. Initially, 2020 was set to be a pretty fantastic film year, with new entries in a variety of beloved franchises, from Fast & Furious to Ghostbusters. Practically all of them, including upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films, have been delayed as far as deep into 2021. One highly-anticipated movie, though, simply couldn't wait that long.

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Now Playing: Bill And Ted Face The Music - Official Trailer

Bill & Ted Face the Music arrives in select theaters and on digital release on Friday, August 28. It's the first film in the series since 1991's Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Face the Music has been in the works for over a decade, but even with that much development, the prospect of revisiting this franchise after so long is a scary one. Can it live up to the hype? Will it be a worthy entry into the existing canon? Could these 30-year-old characters even resonate in the modern day?

Thankfully, the answer to all three of those questions is a resounding yes. Bill & Ted Face the Music is practically everything you could have asked for, and more. After 30 years, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are all grown up, have families, and yet are still the same slacker duo that are trying to unite the world with a single song. Unfortunately, it hasn't been working out and they are visited by someone from the future who tells them their time is up. Now they have 78 minutes to come up with the song that will save the universe. Not too tall of an order, right?

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The key to this movie, just like others in the franchise, is the duo's performances. They're able to, for the most part, easily embody the characters they haven't played in nearly three decades. There is an isolated moment or two when it sounds like Reeves is playing Reeves, rather than Ted. Then again, that might also be due to the fact that the actor has transcended movies to simply become a person whose voice many would instantly recognize, regardless of context.

The chemistry between these two characters is as palpable as ever, likely due in part to the long-lasting friendship between the two actors. And the characters share more than just the bond of friendship, as they're both faced with their failure to achieve their potential in life. That makes it all the more engaging as they race against the clock to finally prove to themselves what they are capable of.

If you've seen the trailer you have some idea about their story in the film, as the duo jump in the phone booth once again to visit different versions of themselves on their journey and, honestly, each iteration of Bill and Ted you meet in the film is entertaining and worthy of a bit more screentime. If anything, that's the film's most notable flaw: At just over 90 minutes, Face the Music moves quickly and there are scenes you're likely going to want to see more of.

Theirs is only one of the movie's stories, though. The film also introduces their daughters, Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving), who nearly steal the show throughout. As Bill and Ted's kids, they are obviously best friends and love music and hanging out just as much as their dads. However, they're also brilliant. Seriously, they're geniuses.

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Whereas Bill and Ted rarely think their plans through or process what the next step will be, Billie and Thea are well-reasoned and incredibly intelligent--while still hanging onto many of the personality quirks they've picked up from their parents. Lundy-Paine, in particular, is incredible as the daughter of Reeves' Ted, embodying some of his traits while also making the character her own.

The rest of the cast more than holds their own in supporting roles, with some truly exciting standouts. The most notable is Kristen Schaal's role as Kelly, daughter of Bill and Ted's time-traveling mentor Rufus (George Carlin). She sets the duo on their new journey and, of course, winds up just as entangled with them as her dad--who makes a brief appearance using repurposed footage. Additionally, Gotham and Barry star Anthony Carrigan appears as a futuristic cyborg that ends up becoming one of the most hilariously sympathetic characters in the second half of the film.

Lastly, it's impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning William Sadler reprising his role as Death. The character of Death was one of the best things about the original sequel, Bogus Journey, and 29 years later, Sadler still perfectly embodies the character. He also benefits from possibly more character development than anyone else in the film, as viewers will learn a lot about what he's been up to since the events of Bogus Journey. That development makes him the emotional core of the second half of the film.

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What's most important about Face the Music is that it feels like a Bill and Ted movie. The visual effects have been upgraded, there are a bunch of new faces, and Bill and Ted are no longer teenagers. Still, the movie's energy fits right alongside Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey.

Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, who have co-written all three of these movies, told GameSpot that this is--in their mind--the final chapter in the story of Bill and Ted. If that is truly the case, they've left on a high note. That's far more than one could have expected when this movie finally became a reality. As excited as fans were, there was a very real possibility it would never meet the hype. Thankfully, it blew it out of the water.

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The Good

  • It fits right in with the other movies
  • The chemistry between Bill and Ted is as great as ever
  • Watching them visit different versions of themselves is endlessly entertaining
  • Brigette Lundy-Paine plays Ted's daughter perfectly
  • William Sadler's reprisal of Death is a true breakout character

The Bad

  • Some of the scenes leave you wanting more
  • One or two instances of Keanu Reeves sounding out of character

About the Author

Chris E. Hayner is Entertainment Editor at GameSpot and likes most movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2. He watched a screener of Bill & Ted Face the Music provided by Orion Pictures.