Bill and Ted 3: An Ode to Excellence
Screen Editor Olivia Garrett writes about the new Bill and Ted movie and explores the problems of long awaited sequels.
You may now know Keanu Reeves as the bearded, stony-faced, dog-revenger John Wick, but back in 1989 he was the lovable, gormless surfer-boy known as Ted Logan. Among the ranks of Dumb and Dumber, Wayne’s World and Galaxy Quest, you have cult classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; the story of two Californian boys (with the IQ of peanuts) who decide to travel through time collecting historical figures for their school project. And if its sequel Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey was not enough (where they go to hell and beat Death at a board game), Orion Pictures’ recently released trailer has initiated the countdown for Bill and Ted 3: Face the Music.
This announcement has made Keanu Reeves the latest in a long line of Hollywood actors, whose classic movies have been given the 21st century treatment. We have already seen the likes of Harrison Ford and Jeff Goldblum dragging their erstwhile franchises back from the dead with a shiny new coat of paint, and Reeves is no different with both Bill and Ted and the Matrix returning before the end of the year. Might we expect Speed 3 to be not too far behind? Such dreaded resuscitations have produced mixed results in previous years, and that’s just the new Star Wars trilogy. Studios have shown, but sadly not learnt, that shoving the 80s into a 2020 sized hole strips away the lovable cliché’s and low-definition idiosyncrasies. Often leaving behind a clinical, soulless flic where the actors are trying not to act like they’re having the equivalent of a tooth-extraction. Is it too much to ask that Bill and Ted stay immune from this mishandling?
Playing air guitar and saying ‘Bogus’ in a surfer-boy accent can only get you so far in today’s movies.
Now, Bill and Ted is a fun and endearing movie that culminates with a surprisingly powerful and translatable message: ‘be excellent to each other’. But despite that, some of its eccentricities have dated about as well as the R. Kelly opening to Space Jam (which by the way is also getting a reboot). Things like Genghis Khan, one of the greatest mass murderers of all time, being a fluffy bunny on a skateboard or the weird obsession with Bill’s mum (which comes up repeatedly), don’t make the movie any less watchable but do make it hard to see in a modern context. Playing air guitar and saying ‘Bogus’ in a surfer-boy accent can only get you so far in today’s movies. Just like the ‘big nose’ jokes of Monty Python, comedy and satire has moved on, and while they will always have a deep-rooted hold on your funny bone, no one could recreate them today.
It’s not difficult to guess Orion’s motivations behind this new addition, and just a hint it’s not because of Alex Winter’s youthful skin. Although the film only made $40 million during its initial release, its elevation to cult status ensures the likelihood of a ‘most excellent’ box office taking for this new film. Especially as the public hunger for cinema attendance will only increase as time goes on. But is really worth destroying the sage, taciturn image Reeves has built up since the 90’s? And can audiences put up with another convoluted Terminator-style timeline? I could be wrong but this bizarre, sci-fi romp, that’s beautifully sprinkled with metalhead nostalgia, seems set to turn into a stiff, Daddy’s Home remake with a knock-off Tardis. Only time will tell.