Good watch for nostalgia lovers and music nerds
All in all, this movie was a really fun ride. However, the current $20 streaming price may only be worth it to a select audience - viewers who are either stir-crazy to watch a new blockbuster, love 80s/ 90s nostalgia or time travel movies, or are hard-core music lovers. Because of complex plotlines, I would rate it best for ages 11 and up. There is also some cursing in English and in German ;-) Our rising 6th grader loved it the best of any of us, calling it her favorite movie ever. There were some good messages about teamwork, the value of family and spousal commitment, and how joyful and rewarding an experience performing music can be for anyone and everyone.
The standouts by far were the young ladies who very convincingly played the daughters of Bill and Ted who didn’t fall far from the tree. Even my rising 9th grader loved their characters. It was refreshing in a way to see girls in a role where they could be carefree and goofy and still be cast in a positive and even heroic light! Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter put a lot into their roles, treating it seriously for some really great results, even though sections of extensive dialogue in the script bogged the story down from time to time. The running gag of them meeting various future versions of themselves was novel and hilarious.
For a family of musicians and DJ, it was a real treat to see Jimi, Mozart, Satchmo, and Cudi portrayed as well as a couple of other legends we’ll have to look for info on. The musical references the daughters gave were very nicely done. In particular, the scene in Preservation Hall in New Orleans (where we were lucky enough to sit up front on the floor for a concert a couple summers ago) where the girls referenced Bunk Johnson and Buddy Bolden’s influence on Armstrong touched the heart of the trumpet player writing this review.
It was neat hearing Wolfgang play a piece of his I had done in high school (we couldn’t figure out whether he was premiering it in the movie). And even though the trumpet and guitar fingerings throughout the movie were not accurate, they had Satch on an antique model horn and Jimi was playing a right-handed guitar left-handed, which is the way he played. Nice details! And when the princess wives mentioned that the song was in the key of C, I had to check - it was. I never imagined I would behold the titular duo performing on theremin while doing Mongolian throat singing. I felt like I was back at the National Folk Festival!
We had watched/ re-watched the original Bill and Ted a few years ago. We started to watch the sequel which I had never seen before but stopped it a short ways in due to some iffy stuff that I can’t quite remember. I think that now that the kids are a little older, we may have to revisit it in order to understand this last movie a bit better - there were some things that were very likely lost on us.
I was a little nervous about the portrayals of Jesus, hell, and death, but for a moderate Christian family of believers, they were tongue-in-cheek enough to remain palatable. In a way, I was happy that Jesus was in the movie, even if only an historical figure along with others like Queen Elizabeth, George Washington, and Babe Ruth for comic effect. Cool to see the hologram of George Carlin worked in there as well.
I’ll add in one more thing - there is an android who grows a conscience, turning from a svelte and futuristic killing machine into a blithering and insecure groupie. It creeped my family out. I thought it was absolutely hilarious in its quirkiness. It is even a somewhat poignant statement on the unknown consequences of a highly developed AI.
Welp, I’ve definitely written too much, but the movie grew on me after it was over from a feeling of “weird but cool” to “I think I want to watch it again sometime”. Glad to finally be able to contribute to Common Sense Media now that I’ve seen a movie that hasn’t been reviewed out to death!