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Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure

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    Ian Jane
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  • Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure



    Released by: MGM
    Released on: November 13, 2012.

    Director: Stephen Herek

    Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin

    Year: 1989

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:


    Long before Keanu Reeves was zipping past bullets in The Matrix and long before Alex Winter was doing whatever it is that Alex Winter does now (mostly voice acting and stage work), the pair starred in Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure.


    The story follows two high school students named Ted Theodore Logan (Reeves) and his best friend Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Winter), a pair of teenagers who lives in San Dimas where they one day hope to get their rock band, Wyld Stallyns, off the ground. This involves a lot of air guitar and posturing but not much else. Maybe not so surprisingly, the two aren't exactly A students - in fact, when we meet them they're on the verge of flunking out of history class. It all hinges on an upcoming report they have to hand in and should they fail, Ted's father (Hal Landon Jr.) has threatened to send him off to military school.


    Not exactly stoked at the prospect of being separated for long periods of time, they decide to buckle up and hit the books… sort of. Little do they know, however, that they've been chosen to save the future. When a man named Rufus (George Carlin) shows up from the future to help them with them history report, they decide to travel through time in a phone booth and abduct the actual historical figures that they need to write about and wind up on an adventure that introduces them to Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven and many more.


    While the bulk of the movie's humor stems from Reeves and Winter playing complete dopes and Carlin's dry sense of sarcasm, there's also the 'fish out of water' element that comes from the time travel aspects of the movie. As our 'heroes' head into the past, they're surprised by what they see but not nearly so much as those they bring back with them to the present day of the late 80s. Yeah, maybe it's lowest common denominator comedy to put Napoleon in a mall but for the most part it works. There's also the culture clash aspect of mixing up the 'dude' speak of Bill and Ted with the more formal way of communicating through speech that the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Sigmund Freud bring to the movie.


    While this film was very much a product of its time (it was ridiculously successful and spawned not only a sequel but an animated series and a comic book series that featured early work from Evan Dorkin of Milk And Cheese fame!), it remains harmless fun even by today's standards. Reeves and Winter are good in their respective roles, bringing surprisingly believable dopiness to the parts to the point where it's hard to imagine anyone else in the roles. Director Stephen Herek would go on to more serious fare with Mr. Holland's Opus and Rock Star (ok, maybe not that serious) but will always hold a special place in horror movie fans' hearts for his debut feature, Critters.


    It might be fairly brainless, but it's still a lot of fun - and you can check out a pretty comprehensive timeline to the movie by clicking right here!


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    The 2.35.1 widescreen image is presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition on a 25GB disc but doesn't suffer from any obvious compression artifacts. The image shows some minor print damage in the form of some white specks here and there but no serious print damage worth complaining about. Detail is about what you'd expect for a movie of this vintage, a little soft in spots but generally solid. Color reproduction looks good as does texture and while black levels aren't reference quality, they're pretty good. This is definitely a nice upgrade from the DVD release from years back.


    The main mix on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, though a Spanish Dolby Digital Mono track is also included. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, French and Spanish. This is not the most immersive 5.1 mix you'll ever hear but the rears open up the soundstage a bit when effects and music come into play. Dialogue stays clean and clear for the most part, the track has reasonable depth to it even if it never approaches reference quality. A solid mix, and again, a nice upgrade over the DVD release.


    The extras are all carried over from the previous special edition DVD release, but for those unfamiliar with that disc here's what you'll get!


    The Original Bill & Ted - In Conversation With Chris And Ed is a twenty minute discussion with the two men who wrote the feature on what inspired them to come up with the story and how the most important aspect of this project was to make themselves, and hopefully in turn the audience, laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. The Air Guitar Tutorial With Bjorn Turoque & The Rockness Monster is a thirteen minute segment in which the 2004 Air Guitar West Coast Champion shows us how to best act when trying to impress others with fake guitar playing abilities. One Sweet And Sour Chinese Adventure To Go is a twenty three minute episode from the 1990s animated Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures series. It's fairly horrible but might be a nice rush of nostalgia for those who remember the show. Aside from that? We get a couple of radio spots and a theatrical trailer for the feature (which, for those keeping score, is the only high definition extra on the disc - everything else is standard definition).


    The Final Word:


    In as many ways as time has not been so kind to Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure, there are just as many ways in which the movie still holds up as an entertaining comedic product of its time. MGM's Blu-ray doesn't add anything new to the supplemental roster but it does offer noticeable upgrades in the audio and video departments and comes recommended to fans of the film.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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