Blu-ray Review: The Most Non-non-non Heinous 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' (1989)

If you see one movie with Abraham Lincoln this year, see Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." If you're hankering to see two, revisit "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure."

"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" has always had the rep of a poor man's, stoned-out "Back to the Future," and to a certain extent, it's true. Director Stephen Herek's 1989 feature, from a script by writing duo Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon makes its greatest complication the delayed thought processes of its two stoners without being stoned heroes, but that's kind of part of the fun. The plot, if you'll recall, sees would-be rockstars Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves) on the verge of failing their history class and given a time machine the future wise man Rufus (George Carlin) in order to complete their final report so that they might fulfill their destiny of uniting the universe with their music.

It's impossible to say "Bill & Ted" hasn't aged well because it's specifically a movie about late-80's Southern California and the goofy critters that live in it (with a bunch of time travel thrown in, of course). Thankfully, the sense of humor still holds and the lead characters are as sweet and dumb as ever. They mean well, they just don't have follow through--and we've all known that person (or been that person, ahem). The much darker sequel, "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" (originally titled "Bill & Ted Go To Hell") is another story entirely, but we'll cross that philosophically interesting and narratively grim movie whenever it too gets a new release.

Special Features and Presentation

I should really learn to stop griping about these MGM/Fox discs auto-playing/lack of home menu but it's really, really weird. Only being able to navigate to the special features through the movie itself is such an counter-intuitive, ungainly interface.

And while the picture and audio quality haven't received a complete and total upgrade, the image doesn't suffer from the compression of some of the other discs in this line of re-releases and the audio, particularly the music tracks have a nice kick to them.

Moving on to the special features, we have "The Original Bill & Ted: In Conversation With Chris and Ed" (20:13, SD), a conversation with the film's screenwriters, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon on how their early 20's informed the writing of the script. The middle-aged duo have reached a point where they're deeply contemplative about themselves and about their work on the movie, and it's kind of poignant seeing them revisit the experience of writing it.

"Air Guitar Tutorial With Bjorn Turoque and the Rockness Monster" (13:14, SD), features competitive air guitar players providing tips on would-be air guitar pros. It's a cute bit that goes on way longer than it should.

"One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure To Go" (23:08, SD) is an episode of the animated TV series featuring the duo meeting Marco Polo and heading to China. Lotta bad accents here. One surprise: the series kept on George Carlin and Bernie Casey (Bill and Ted's history teacher) as voice actors.

Finally, the disc includes a collection of radio spots and the theatrical trailer.

"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" is available now on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox.