November 16, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure'

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Review by Jude Felton

Has is really been over 20 years since Bill S. Preston Esq and Ted “Theodore” Logan first graced our screens? It has indeed, and when Fox announced, out of the blue, that they were to release this gem of a movie on to Blu-ray, I was surprised, albeit happily surprised. Saying that though they do have a habit of releasing some cool movies through their MGM label, with Killer Klowns from Outer Space and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 being two recent beauties to hit Blu.

It was way back in my late teenage years when I first watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and it just tapped into the Metal head in me. It was just cool and a lot of fun, and I even had no idea who George Carlin was back then! It was also the perfect film for a young Keanu Reeves, alongside Alex Winter, playing the dumb, yet lovable, kid that has pretty much stuck with him throughout his career.

The Excellent Adventure of the title comes about because Bill and Ted are dangerously close to failing history at school. This would be bad enough, but extra threat is laid on when Ted’s overbearing father promises to send him to military school in Alaska, should he fail.

Fortune is shining on Bill and Ted though, as in the future they are figures of the highest regard, due to their initially terrible band Wild Stalyns. This results in Rufus (George Carlin) appearing via phone booth and offering to help them with their project, and thus begins a journey through time visiting historical figures, and getting their project together.

Due to the time travelling element of the story the entire picture is not revealed until the end of the film, at which time all makes complete and perfect sense, even if you do find your mind scrambled at the logistics of it all if you think about it for too long! This is a film from a time where movies could just be great fun; they didn’t need a higher purpose or deeper meaning, and came at us with no pretensions whatsoever, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure has held up remarkably well.

Sure, some of the effects on display look a little dated and the fashions are a sign of the times, but the two leads are lovable dudes that you can’t help rooting for. I’ll never get tired of watching Beethoven rock out on the keyboards in the San Dimas Mall. Excellent, dude!

The Blu-ray release itself is nice. It’s not spectacular, although I didn’t expect it to be, but the visuals and audio are pretty damned good. It is without doubt the best quality picture I have seen of this film and, aside from the odd moment, makes the film look totally fresh again. Crank up the volume and the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 does rock out of your speakers; a fact that came to life when my wife commented on how loud it was. Hell yes, baby!

On the special features side of things and it isn’t crammed with them, but there are a fair few. Included on the disc are The Original Bill & Ted: In Conversation with Chris & Ed, an Air Guitar Tutorial with Bjorn Turoque & The Rockness Monster, One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure To Go, some Radio Spots and the Theatrical Trailer. All that being said, I recommend picking this up purely on the strength of the film alone; it’s a film everyone should have in their collection, and you can pick it up for less than $10.

Now, if Fox could find it in themselves to release the sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, that would be most excellent.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is available on Blu-ray now, from 20th Century Fox and MGM.

(The stills used in this review are not representative of the Blu-ray release and are used solely to illustrate this review)

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