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Review: Bill & Ted Face The Music – “Fantastic”

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I’m not the target audience for Bill & Ted Face The Music. I’m not even a fan of the previous two. So why did I just spend $35 to own the trilogy on 4K? Well, when I chose to purchase, I’d say two major factors;

1. Value. I’ve sat back and grabbed my popcorn as the ‘Mulan’ debate has raged. £28 is too much! Um… so is £19.99! Oh, you’re putting it out free in 8 weeks, anyway? So £19.99 is a choice and some will (I will), & some won’t? How dare you, Disney! Here, I think they’ve got it right. $20 to rent, $25 to own. $35 for all 3 in 4K? It’s hard to argue it’s not value for money — I’m not sure there’s anything truly cinematic, that would get lost at home.

This is currently for the US. The film is getting a UK & Europe cinema release mid-September. A date that’s already moved, presumably due to factor 2

2. The word of mouth on this film has been something else. I thought the trailers were terrible. Yet people I trust — mainly of whom have cold, dark hearts — loved it. A tug on my heartstrings here,  a promise of nothing but happiness, and non-cynical vibes? In 2020? It was too much to resist.

So here we are and I’ve never been happier to admit I’m wrong.

It’s fantastic and, true to everyone’s word, doesn’t have a malicious bone in its body. Every time a joke could get played out at someone else’s, it goes the other way. As a result, the film is bathed in an innocence from 25 years ago. A time when things, on the face of it at least, appeared simpler.

It quickly establishes that you don’t have to be a Bill & Ted fan to enjoy the ride — being a huge fan of nostalgia is enough. I tick that box. I tick it every time.

Who better than Keanu Reeves to lead from the front, here? Having continually reinvented himself he gets to have great fun, harking back to previous glory years. As a huge defender of ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, I loved hearing him say “poppycock” in an English accent far more refined than his 1992 effort.

But he doesn’t lead the film on his own. Alex Winter is fantastic. Maybe he needed it more. Maybe he’s just glad to be back. But I was genuinely impressed.

The girls (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine), who are clearly having a ball too, get the focus at just the right time. Right as the film got me genuinely choked up. As past and present collide and you realise time isn’t infinite. So don’t be so hard on yourself, dudes.

“You’re not here to back us… we’re here to back you.” How many less fortunate could do with hearing that at the moment? A film for the ages, indeed.

Playing out mostly in real-time, the film just rattles along. 90 inoffensive minutes. The effects hold up. The time concept is interesting and far less po-faced than Nolan’s take. So much so that a running gag of how your future self could try and ruin things for you is deliberately taken to extremes.

It just works.

It’s not going to win any awards — unless there’s one made for getting VOD/cinema balance right — but it’s not here too. It just wants to entertain.

I can’t imagine what you’d get from this as an actual fan. Nostalgia heaven, I’d imagine.

As people start to get Nolan fatigue — already happening apparently, as people bemoan the amount of screens ‘TENET’ (reviewed here) takes up — this could be the shot to the arm needed to get over any lag.

But it’s an important reminder that there’s a need for both.

P.S. Stay post-credits….!

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