In general with sci-fi, it is often the case that each piece of media will have it’s own set of strict rules that must be followed; particularly when it comes to the case of time travel. Now, there are many, many versions of the time travel rules, and some are more common than others. But we’re not here to talk about the rules of time travel – even though I’m sure that would be a very interesting conversation to have with you, Wanderers. We’re here to discuss a piece of media that has time travel as part of its plot. The thing is though, unlike most stuff with time travel involved, this thing… really isn’t all that serious. In fact, it’s not serious at all. It’s a comedy, and it’s light-hearted, and it’s one of my personal favourite movies of all time. You can make comments on my movie tastes later. Today, we’re going to be looking at Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure!
This movie is, quite rightly, a cult classic. It’s about these two loveable idiots, Bill S. Preston Esq, and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan, who together are Wyld Stallyns, a band who will be totally awesome. As soon as they get Eddie Van Halen. And make a triumphant video. Oh, and learn to … actually play their instruments. Yeah, they’re kind of slack-offs, and it shows mostly in the fact that they are failing history. Unless they manage to ace the final oral report, they will flunk out of school, Ted will be sent to a military academy in Alaska, and the band will never get anywhere. It’s horrible for these two friends, but that’s the way things go, right?
Actually, no. You see, if Wyld Stallyns never happen, a utopian future in which the people of Earth have overcome war, famine and poverty will never come to be. The music of the band – and the philosophies within the band and their music – help to unite the world. Without it, things will fall to ruin. So, it’s up to Rufus – played by the late George Carlin – to travel back in time and help the two Great Ones pass their history report. He gives them a time travelling phone booth – that sounds familiar – and the two go back through history, collecting historical figures to come and help them with their report. It’s an insane plot, it makes no sense really when you think about it, but it is completely excellent to a most outstanding level.
Everything centers around Bill and Ted, brothers in all but blood. Let me tell you something, Wanderers, these two are some of the nicest fictional male characters I have ever encountered in any genre. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’re immature and that shows in their choices of insults, but never have you met two people who care more about each other, and more about just being decent people. They take everything in their stride, and have a most resplendent vocabulary – actually, more so than you would think for characters that are otherwise portrayed as slackers. (Though if history is the only thing they’re failing, they can’t be all that bad.) These two greet their adventures through time with jovial smiles, being friendly to whoever they meet, and making friends with the oddest of historical figures – Genghis Khan being one of them.
It’s also notable for being one of the only buddy movies I can think of in which there is no argument between the friends that drives them apart. Bill and Ted are two individuals who share the same mindset, and the same way of thinking, and because of that, nothing can really drive a wedge between them. They are completely on the same wavelength and it’s really touching to see. The movie brings some fun times in its romp through time, and there are a lot of fun moments in the backgrounds of scenes that can be caught on a second or third watch through.
Now, Excellent Adventure is actually only the first entry in the franchise, and I’m sure I’ll get to the others at some point, but it’s the one that really makes it clear; the reason why Wyld Stallyns change the world isn’t through some great deed, or extreme influence. They change the world by being honestly decent people. And that, dear Wanderers, is a marvellous thing to see.
I mean, if you’re going to use any fictional characters as a basis for your own moral behaviour, you wouldn’t do all that badly if you picked the Great Ones. Just sayin’.
I’d give this movie a four and a half out of five – it is quite cheesy, but there is a lot of heart to it.
Z McAspurren (Party on, dudes!)