A Most Excellent Movie
By Shanuka Kadupityage Ceylon Today Features
Keanu Reeves is making headlines once again as the third edition of the Most Excellent movie series, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The movie marks the comeback of the series, over 30 years after the first 1989 movie and 29 years after its sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey from 1991.
While preparing to see the third installment of the series, I recently took the time to have a look at where it all began; the first Excellent Adventure that captivated audiences in cinemas at that time. The result was an hour and half of laughs, giggles and at the end, absolute astonishment, leaving me wondering ‘how the heck were they able to make this movie?’
As entertaining they may be, movies are expensive to make and a huge financial risk for producers and film studios. When a movie flops, the loss is in the millions of dollars which means that a movie pitch rarely ever goes into production without some notion that it will succeed.
When compared to that, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a movie full of oddities. While Keanu is a mainstream hit now, he wasn’t a famous actor at the time of the movie. In fact, the only big Hollywood name is from George Carlin; the famous comedian.
Not only were the actors new to the big screen, so were the director and writers. All of them were either making their debut in the movie industry or taking part in their second movie with Bill and Ted.
Not to mention the fact that the movie has one of the most absurd plots ever conceived.
In the original movie, the story is about Bill and Ted, two dimwitted lifelong friends who have to pass a history assignment from school to prevent Ted’s father from sending him to military school, bringing an end to their band ‘Wyld Stallyns’.
This is bad for the future as well, because it turns out that Bill and Ted’s band in the future will change the world and spark the creation of a utopian society. Therefore, Rufus (George Carlin) is sent to Bill and Ted’s time from the future using a time machine that looks like a phone booth.
The two then decide to go on a ‘most excellent’ time travelling adventure and bring various historical figures from their time and into the present day, as a presentation to their history exam.
Setting aside the absolute bonkers plot, the plot is full of holes and many inconsistencies are left unexplained. There’s hardly any drama or conflict that the protagonists have to overcome. In every way, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is innocent, enthusiastic and childlike in every way.
This is in parallel to our protagonists as well; Bill and Ted. The two share an innocent personality and have a childish disregard for the complications of the world around them. They perform air guitar solos in their achievements and have the vocabulary of a teenage ‘stoner bro’. They live in the moment; hardly have a mean thought to share.
In a way, maybe it isn’t a far stretch that the two save the world in the future. The two are given a device that can change the very fabric of time and space, changing the world as we know it and all they want to do is flirt with girls from the European middle ages, quote song lyrics to socrates and have a fun time, being ‘excellent to each other’.
There is a stark disregard to what people might expect in a movie when it comes to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. However, therein lays the charm of this movie that became an instant classic. If Bill and Ted Face the Music; the third installment of the series is anything like the first two movies, we are all in for a ‘most excellent’ time.