It’s time to look at a comedy film from a while back that’s definitely pretty well known. It did manage to get two sequels after all. It’s hard to find main characters that are less intelligent than these guys. Bill and Ted consistently look pretty bad throughout the whole film. The writing is pretty solid though. The film can definitely get a bit overboard with how silly it is at times. It’s definitely going for a comedic approach you don’t see quite as much nowadays. Still, it manages to land pretty well for the most part. I don’t see this title as having a lot of replay value but on your first go around it’s fun enough.
The movie starts off with Bill and Ted goofing off as usual. Unfortunately this has finally come back to bite them. Ted is at risk of failing history and if that happens then he will get sent off to military school. He tries to study with Bill but they’re just no good at this and the presentation for the final is tomorrow anyway. Fortunately they have some help. In the future, Bill and Ted are supposed to change the galaxy as we know it through their music. So an envoy is sent to the past to rescue the main characters from their plight. What happens is they send a time machine to the present so Bill and Ted can travel back in time and bring back a bunch of famous figures to answer the historical questions that they needed. This is a bold plan. Can the heroes pull it off? Or…have they already done so since the future already exists for them to do it?
Time travel is always an interesting concept in part because people can never really decide on what the rules should be. Personally, my favorite time travel rules are rather similar to DBZ’s. When you go to the past, you can’t affect your own timeline since the events have already happened. Effectively you are traveling to a parallels timeline where the events will now be different. As such you can’t get stuck in any of the time loops that you see pop up here and there. That’s because the events didn’t already happen, they’re all fresh as soon as they occur. This film is using a different theory though that you actively change time as you go through it. Because of that, the heroes are now in a time loop. The loop doesn’t make perfect sense by the end though such as some scenes we get of the heroes already doing things that they haven’t yet like recording a message of leaving notes. The only way that works is if you did another time travel adventure but the problem is actually starting it as they’d need to use more machines and actually time things perfectly which I don’t trust the leads to do. It does get pretty messy but it’s a very unique way to show time travel which was cool.
After all, there has to be a first encounter in order to set up the loop and I don’t see how that works. Clearly Ted would have been sent to military school without the help so the future wouldn’t be around to come back to the past and save him. If they were, then it would mean that the future doesn’t actually need Bill and Ted after all. Either way that does not bode particularly well for the heroes when you think about it. It’s part comedy so no need to think on it too much but it’s something that does stand out the more you think about it.
As I mentioned, the film’s pretty fun. As a comedy it really needs to be in order to succeed. It doesn’t mean that every joke will land, it’s rare for any comedy film to pull that off. Still, more land than the ones that do not which is the critical factor here. Personally I mainly enjoyed when the heroes were in the present compared to being in the past. I thought the film could have had more fun with these figures from the olden days enjoying modern life. We do get some of that near the end though which was nice. We even have a big mall fight where the cops show up to take them all down. It makes for a pretty solid action scene.
As for Bill and Ted as characters, I wouldn’t say that any of them are particularly likable. Both of them don’t study hard so they have nobody to blame but themselves on why they weren’t ready for the exams. I wouldn’t say they’re the most heroic characters either. This is the kind of film that isn’t relying on the leads which is good. The cast wasn’t really anything to write home about in general. The fathers of both kids were pretty unreasonable the whole time. We don’t see Ted’s mother but Bill’s was trying pretty hard at least. The lunch may have been burned but the attempt was on point. I liked the teacher even though he didn’t get to appear a whole lot. He may be a pretty strict guy but he still gave everyone a chance which is the important part. The fact that he let them have an opportunity to succeed shows that he cared at least.
Overall, By the end of the film you’ll have heard the word “excellent” quite a lot. One of the main reasons why this film was able to succeed is also that while Bill and Ted were portrayed as being very unintelligent, they weren’t super annoying about it. I’ll take “excellent” and the electric guitars as running themes over other options they could have had. The film also widely avoids crude humor which I was pleasantly surprised about. This definitely goes a long way as well. In short, this film was actually written pretty well. It succeeds in the approach it’s going for and the film just flies by. Ultimately I was entertained and it’s not like the film is very long either so it definitely doesn’t drag on or anything like that. It’ll be interesting to see if the sequels can quite match up to this one. If you like comedy films then this is a good one to check out. It’s not the best or anything like that but it holds its own and the sci-fi/time travel angle helps make this one fairly unique. I’m always in favor of using time travel to change history if it’s an option and these characters certainly don’t have any qualms against it.