By Tom Drake
SHORT: Bill: Ted, it’s the Grim Reaper, dude!
Ted: Oh. How’s it hanging Death?
MEDIUM: In this sequel to BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (1989), two teenagers who have been told that their music (when they get around to learning how to play) will inspire a Golden Age of enlightenment are foiled by evil time travelers who replace them with Evil Robot Duplicates. What follows is a Heavy Metal DANTE’S INFERNO as the dynamic duo of awesomeness travel to the afterlife and beyond.
MAXIMUM VERBOSITY: We see elements about the transcendental nature of the music of Bill S Preston Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) that is meant to transform society. Let us remember the prophetic words that grace us upon learning of their enlightenment:
“Hi, welcome to the future. San Dimas, California, 2688. And I’m telling you it’s great here. The air is clean, the water’s clean, even the dirt, it’s clean. Bowling averages are way up, mini-golf scores are way down. And we have more excellent water slides than any other planet we communicate with. I’m telling you this place is great! But it almost wasn’t. You see, 700 years ago, the two great ones, ran into a few problems. So now I have to travel back in time to help them out. If I should fail to keep these two on the correct path, the basis of our society will be in danger. Don’t worry, it’ll all make sense. I’m a professional.”
Let us examine this statement. First, the 27th century is clearly an excellent place to be. Buck Rogers would be 200 years old, thus taking care of the last of the bad guys threatening Earth. STAR TREK has also taken place, except for the future involved in the Temporal Cold War, but now we know why things are so peaceful. It’s because Bill and Ted, along with a host of other heroes I’m sure, helped ensure Earth’s rightful dominance in the heavens, imposing our way of life on all other beings. Oh, wait…that’s another movie.
Rufus, the man who is the spiritual guide to our heroes in the first movie and who is indisposed by the Anti-Rufus in the second, tells you that it is great there. By all accounts in both the first and second movies, we can in fact see that things are excellent. The future’s so bright, you have to wear shades. You can tell this because nearly everyone in the future does wear shades.
The air is clean. The water is clean. Even the Dirt is clean. This is a good thing. No doubt cleansed by a combination of the improved human behavior but also the special vibratory powers of the music of the sphere’s created by these two talented musicians.
If one is able to achieve zen and inner peace, it only makes sense that bowling averages go up as well as minigolf might improve. I was just getting in an argument the other day with someone about slippery slopes and assuring them that the water slides in the future were fantastic. This ensures a vibrant economic future in the galactic economy. Later in the movie, we also learn that their music allows communication with animals. This makes sense, since animals love great music. Also, they inherently recognize how cool Bill and Ted are.
Now, I alas must admit, that if this movie were the second of a trilogy, it would be much better. We see things in the arc of progress that make sense, such as how they learn to play, but we do not get to see them truly master the forces of the cosmos. Instead, we are merely taunted with hints as to their greatness. As a standalone sequel, we must then judge the movie on its individual merit rather than part of a great whole.
The humor is most excellent, but the semi formulaic nature of trying to capture the same movie in a bottle twice is bogus. This is saved by the fact that Bill and Ted are the most excellent of dudes. It is further enhanced by the fact that Death turns out to be a way cool fellow. This trio of miscreants moves around the afterlife and causes some serious strife in most fantastic way.
Oh, though our heroes do toss the term “fag” around quite a bit. They are very much a product of their time, but one can imagine that with further enlightenment through their music they learned not to use this so often. For at their core, Bill and Ted are indeed dynamic heroes, capable of changing to their environment, the master of many worlds, flying back on a winged Wyld Stallion of Most Fiery Awesomeness.
The Martian is really just stupid. Try to pretend it’s not there. Even if it is kind of vital to the Dues-Ex-Robotica in the end.
This is also, perhaps, the role to which Keanu Reeves was born to play. Now, I personally like him in a lot of things he’s been in, including THE MATRIX, DARK CITY, SPEED and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. But to many people, he is just an adult Ted in a sci fi movie, unable to lose his accent. Well, his acting might be good sometimes, but tis true that Keanu is basically Keanu….but no role he plays is more Keanu than Ted. Where does Ted and and Keanu begin, or where does Keanu begin and Ted end?
The world may never know.
Watch this movie.