Plot: What’s it about?
Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are best friends, have a band together, and soon enough, are doomed to flunk history together. As too much time was spent on having fun, the boys never bothered to hit the books, so all they know is that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, while Caesar was a “salad dressing dude.” But they have one last chance to redeem themselves and all they need to do is ace their final exam, a live presentation on historical figures. In other words, these guys have no chance and are doomed to flunk the class. A plan is forged to try however, but when Ted’s dad informs him that military school is in his future, the need to succeed is more evident than ever before, to be sure. These two friends need a miracle and as they sit in the Circle K parking lot, a miracle drops from above in the form of a telephone booth. Inside is Rufus (George Carlin), who tells the guys he is there to help and with the booth, they can time travel to gather data to enhance their report, in order to pass the class. With their futures and perhaps even more riding on this one presentation, can these slackers manage to focus and succeed?
I’ve waited for the Bill & Ted movies to hit DVD since I picked up my first player and as such, I am beyond pumped now that MGM has released them. I think this movie partnership belongs up there with the classic “two dumb friends” genre entries, like Wayne & Garth, Cheech & Chong, and of course, Beavis & Butthead. I admit, this flick might seem dumb at times, but if you ask me, it is very sharp and well written. The premise takes an old idea and throws a new spin in, one which makes all the difference in the world, I think. To watch these two bungle their way through time and actually learn something in the process works very well, much better than it would ever seem, if you saw the premise on paper. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter provide terrific & fun turns, while backed up by a number of gifted performers in humorous roles. I won’t say this movie is pure genius, but it is most excellent and will make a righteous addition to my collection. With a super low price and a great new transfer, this release is very, very highly recommended.
Although this is known as one of the films that helped make Keanu Reeves a star, I’ve always been more taken with Alex Winter’s performance. I suppose Reeves seem more natural in this kind of part, but Winter as Bill is my personal favorite of the two characters. His wide eyes and clueless looks often add a ton of humor to even the simplest of lines, which he delivers in flawless, dude-like fashion. Winter has never found the mainstream fame of Reeves, but he has remained somewhat active in cinema and garnered some critical praise for his work. He has even went behind the camera as a director and done well, so it isn’t like Winter hasn’t had success in the business. You can also see Winter in such films as The Lost Boys, Freaked, Haunted Summer, Fever, and of course, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The cast also includes Keanu Reeves (The Watcher, Speed), George Carlin (Outrageous Fortune, The Prince of Tides), and Bernie Casey (Revenge of the Nerds, Cleopatra Jones).
Video: How does it look?
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I haven’t seen this film in widescreen since it ran in theaters, so it was awesome to see it once again as it should be seen. The image looks great and should please fans, although some minor issues do surface at times. The print used has some marks here & there, but nothing serious and all things considered, it looks very clean indeed. The colors look bold and true also, while flesh tones are natural at all times. I also found the contrast to be impressive, as black levels are well balanced and detail is high throughout. In the end, this transfer might have some small issues, but if you ask me, this is a terrific presentation, so fans should be satisfied.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers more than the standard comedy mix, but don’t expect the world from this soundtrack. As expected, the film’s rock driven music sounds powerful here, especially in a few instances, when the speakers open wide. The sound effects also have more kick than expected, with the phone booth travel scenes as an example, as well as various other sequences with impact audio elements. As far as dialogue, it comes through loud & clear and is never hard to understand, not even for a second. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.