Bill & Ted Face the Music – Blu-ray Review
Film Title: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
Release Date: 2020
Runtime: 92 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio(s): 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: Blu-ray
– Amazon Commissions Earned –
Blu-ray Release Date: 11/10/20
Director: Dean Parisot
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Samara Weaving, Kristen Schaal, William Sadler, Anthony Carrigan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, Hal Landon Jr., Beck Bennett, Amy Stoch, Holland Taylor, Kid Cudi
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“Bill & Ted Face the Music” was a 2020 sequel to the films “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989) and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” (1991). Those films were both written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. The two screenwriters (Matheson & Solomon) return here as the writers and carry on the legacy of the characters that they actually created.
Chris Matheson, aside from his work on these films, is best known for also co-writing on the films “A Goofy Movie” (1995), “Rapture-Palooza” (2013), “Mom and Dad Save the World” (1992), and “Imagine That” (2009) — the latter of two which he actually co-wrote with Solomon. Ed Solomon, aside from his work on those aforementioned films, is best known for also co-writing on the films “Super Mario Bros.” (1993), “Men in Black” (1997), “Charlie’s Angels” (2000), and “Now You See Me” (2013) as well as its sequel “Now You See Me 2” (2016).
The director here for “Bill & Ted Face the Music” was Dean Parisot, best known for also directing the films “Home Fries” (1998), “Galaxy Quest” (1999), and “RED 2” (2013).
So, first, a bit of a refresher course here. As fans will remember, both of the previous films featured our heroes named “Bill S. Preston Esquire” (Alex Winter) and “Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan” (Keanu Reeves) who reside in San Dimas, California, and have a band called “Wyld Stallyns”. Back in 1989, originally, they were able to go back in time, thanks to a friend from the future named “Rufus” (George Carlin), and managed to meet a lot of cool historical figures and even bring them back to their time to do a history report. Then, in the second film, they ended up fighting two evil robotic versions of themselves, went to both heaven and hell, as well as met the “Grim Reaper”/”Death” (William Sadler) along the way. In that film, the second film, they had to accomplish another task and when we last saw them they had just done that.
In the last film (“Bogus Journey”) that we saw the dudes in, at the very end, they end up coming back from time travel, after some time has passed (pun most-not intended), with two new infant children that they referred to as “little Bill & Ted” — as later even mentioned in this new film. Anyway, that’s the end of the flashback to the first two films with really as little “spoilers” as I could dish out. They’ll give you a flashback similar to that but a whole lot more condensed and extending on into what happened afterward at the beginning of this film, but I won’t spoil that for you.
The story of this third film has Bill & Ted grown up, married to the Princesses, and raising two daughters in their mid-twenties named “Billie Logan” (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and “Thea Preston” (Samara Weaving). The daughters admire their dads and resemble their mannerisms in all such ways, except for being just a tad bit smarter. As we’re first introduced to the daughters, they’re catching us up to what all has happened since the last two films in the world of Bill & Ted. You’ll next get to see them all in an opening scene that takes place at a family wedding, where our heroes are performing a song.
Unlike Ted’s father, “Chief Logan” (Hal Landon Jr.), the daughters have grown up their lives believing in their father’s stories of traveling back in time and going to hell and all of that. They idolize their fathers, and even Ted’s father has to admit that about the daughters. Meanwhile, the wives (Princesses) have gone on to get jobs and have their own careers, as we briefly saw in the last film. Yet Bill & Ted have still continued their band and continue to try to write the perfect song that will bring the world together. They’ve just had a lot of complications along the way, to avoid spoiling anything I’ll leave it at that.
Unfortunately, for Bill & Ted as well as the whole world, they were actually supposed to have written that song to bring the world together a long time ago. They really learn this when the daughter of their late friend Rufus returns in a newer time machine from the future. The daughter of their late friend Rufus, most appropriately named, “Kelly” (Kristen Schaal) tells the dudes how serious things are and takes them back to the future, where they’re still revered as heroes but as I’ve said, the time is running out for them to deliver on that song. In fact, that’s when things become really serious to our heroes when “The Great Leader” (Holland Taylor) gives them an ultimatum and shows a bit less flattery than they’ve come to expect from those in the future.
Essentially, Bill & Ted are left to write a song in 70 minutes or so roughly, and if they don’t manage to, the whole world and space-time continuum is going to really be thrown the hell off in the most heinous of ways. I won’t give it all away but let’s just say some time traveling is once again in the plot and you’ll get to see some alternate versions of Bill & Ted along the way. Also, you’ll get to see the daughters Billie and Thea get to do a little bit of time traveling as well, all in a quick effort to help their fathers save the world. It’s a far-fetched plot and that’s what we always came to expect from these films, yet they always had great amounts of laughs, a lot of heart, and a truly moving message like “Be excellent to each other.”
This time around Bill & Ted really will have to “Face the Music” just as the title itself suggests and live up to their destiny and their two daughters get to have their own adventure along the way as well. It’s not totally handing over the film to the younger Logan and Preston, by any means, but it is giving them a bit of screen time too. Bill & Ted will have to search to really find themselves, not just so-to-speak but literally. That’s where this film really starts to have its heartfelt moments that felt a bit more mature and show that the dudes have matured as well. This is a fun sequel and has a lot of great performances in it from a lot of new faces, as well as from a few other familiar faces.
Movie Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
“Bill & Ted Face the Music” on its Blu-ray Disc debut is presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. This movie was shot digitally in 2.8K and 3.4K resolutions using the Arri Alexa Mini and Arri Alexa Xt Plus cameras with Panavision Primo lenses. It then received a 4K DI (digital intermediate) master — according to IMDb.
Next, let me get technical, for a bit, in regards to the Blu-ray Disc itself here. This release is using a BD-50 (50 gigabytes) disc, 39.5 gigabytes total, and 26.5 gigabytes for the film itself. That’s not a huge amount of the disc being used really for the film or even the extras, but you should keep in mind this is only a 92-minute film, with standard DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound. It’s using a really decent amount of space for the film and I don’t see any signs of compression at all here like you might see streaming or watching this digitally. That’s one of the most excellent benefits of physical media.
Visually this looks very, very impressive, to be in 1080p HD, with a major amount of detail to be found here, especially in close-ups, and comes with some beautiful vibrant colors. The black level is solid and the flesh tones appear as accurate as SDR (standard dynamic range) will allow. Fans of the first two films will maybe be off-put by the new super-crisp digital source material, in comparison to 35mm film of before, but you very quickly get used to it. The whole style of cinematography (by Shelly Johnson), the set design, and everything, all just really look extremely impressive here in this sequel.
The visual effects here all feel flawless and help offer up a more believable vision of the future. Costume design also does a great job of setting the vibe, with colors that really grab your attention as the previous films did. This film looks visually stunning and sets itself apart from the first two films, yet still blends together to form the trilogy. The biggest change to get used to here is not so much the digital source material, as it is actually the shift back from the 1.85:1 aspect ratio previously (used on “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”) to the 2.39:1 aspect ratio that the first film was actually in. This means you’ll get the larger black bars at the top and bottom. It’s really only fitting that it has come full-circle back to an aspect ratio that the first of these three films was in.
In terms of quality here, there’s a real abundance of detail and that can especially be said for scenes with some facial close-ups or just a lot of beautiful or interesting scenery. I’ve seen the video bitrate for the AVC codec hit as high as 41Mbps on numerous occasions, and it runs a pretty steady 34Mbps average bitrate. This film looks very impressive on Blu-ray and there’s really no denying that. It is a shame that we don’t get a physical 4K release here in the United States, as a UK 4K UHD Blu-ray is available. Still, that’s not at all going to change the fact that this looks great for a format introduced in 2006 and is pushing the Blu-ray format to its peak levels in terms of bandwidth. This looks outstanding in HD and earns itself a perfect 5 rating for video quality.
Video Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Audio on the Blu-ray Disc debut of “Bill & Ted Face the Music” comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround mix, including a DTS 5.1 core for those not capable of fully decoding the lossless surround sound mix. It’s no surprise the film doesn’t get an Atmos mix here, as it didn’t even on its 4K digital release. That digital release also received a 5.1 mix — but in a lossy format (Dolby Digital, in most cases). So, you do get better sound quality just based on stats here on the physical release. That’s worth mentioning from the get-go.
So, the film starts up with a rather interesting bit, which I will not spoil for you, but let’s say a bit later in you’ll be treated to some interesting music. That will give you a slight taste of that to come. First and foremost, it’s most certainly worth mentioning that dialogue and narration are delivered from the center channel speaker in this 5.1 surround mix and it is spot-on. You will find absolutely no need ever here to make volume adjustments. Just sit back and enjoy, and here’s what type of lossless surround mix you’ll hear.
The sound effects come across pretty realistic and possess a very nice amount of bass that you’ll hear mostly being represented via the subwoofer, and a bit from the front left and right channel speakers. The rear channels do get used for sound effects, rest assured, and at appropriate times. You’ll also notice that the rear channels have a nicely balanced amount of the music here all throughout, with the music being driven from predominantly the front channels — much like the sound effects.
The music here, be it the original music composed by Mark Isham or such, is what’s really important, and that’s why “Face the Music” is in the film’s title. There are a lot of very impressive bits that come roughly around the 30 minutes mark. It’s 48 minutes in exactly when you’ll notice how much oomph that this mix can really deliver with just simply the sound of older style drums. There’s a great amount of rear channel presence and the subwoofer helps drive the low-end of the beats. There are some great higher tones with the use of guitar and some other instruments that I won’t mention specifically, to avoid dishing out too many spoilers.
Let’s just say, this 5.1 lossless surround mix faces the music and does it complete and utter justice — as does it for the film itself. This sound mix delivers on all levels: music, action, and distinct dialogue-driven from the center channel. It’s making perfect use, in my own personal opinion, of a standard 5.1 surround sound configuration. That said, this earns a most triumphant 5 rating for audio quality. Fans should, of course, now proceed to do some air guitar and/or make the metal sign.
Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Bonus materials on this release, are presented in HD video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound.
- A Digital Copy (code) of the film is included via a paper insert. This is redeemable only via the Vudu service. It will redeem in HD (HDX) with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 sound there.
The bonus materials that are on the Blu-ray Disc include:
- “The Official Bill & Ted Face the Music Panel at Comic-Con@Home” (43:14 – HD) took place this year, 2020, during a very unusual time where we didn’t get to have a physical Comic-Con. Instead, we got video chats. This is just one of those, but it is for a most triumphant film such as this which makes it very important. Now, this panel was moderated by filmmaker Kevin Smith. How cool is that, folks?! Sorry, I’m just a huge fan of his and of these films and that’s a totally nice combination, in my opinion. On the virtual panel here we have the following: Ed Solomon (screenwriter), William Sadler (Death, formerly Grim Reaper), Samara Weaving (Thea Preston), Brigette Lundy-Paine (Billie Logan), Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), Dean Parisot (director), Chris Matheson (screenwriter), and Keanu Reeves (Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan). This is just one excellent virtual panel and I can only say that much without raving on and on about it and dishing out and spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
- “Be Excellent to Each Other“ (1:22 – HD) as its title suggests, comes from a line that has spanned across all three of the Bill & Ted films. It’s always been a very positive and emotional line of dialogue that can always be a way of going about your life. A mantra of sorts, as it was perhaps intended. This featurette includes clips from the film, on-set footage, as well as interviews with Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), Keanu Reeves (Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan), Kristan Schaal (Kelly), Erin Hayes (Princess Elizabeth), Jayma Mays (Princess Joanna), Anthony Carrigan (Robot), William Sadler (Death), Samara Weaving (Thea Preston), Brigette Lunday-Paine (Billie Logan), and Kid Cudi.
- “A Most Triumphant Duo” (1:17 – HD) focuses on two characters that we have got to know, now, across a total of three films — “Bill & Ted” — of course. Here, you’ll get clips from the films and of course interviews with Scott Kroopf (producer), Dean Parisot (director), Ed Solomon (co-writer), Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), Keanu Reeves (Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan), Brigette Lundy-Paine (Billie Logan), and Samara Weaving (Thea Preston).
- “Social Piece (Excellence)” (0:49 – HD) features clips from the film and of course interviews with Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), Keanu Reeves (Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan), Dean Parisot (director), Erin Hayes (Princess Elizabeth), Jayma Mays (Princess Joanna), William Sadler (Death), Samara Weaving (Thea Preston), Brigette Lundy-Paine (Billie Logan), and Kid Cudi.
- “Death‘s Crib” (1:13 – HD) gives a glimpse at Death‘s (William Sadler) home — as seen in the film. Sadler (in character) gives you a bit of a tour here around the crib. It’s not quite as lavish as that show called Cribs or such but it’s enough to really leave you jealous — or is it jelly that the kids say these days?
Overall the bonus materials here include a great Comic-Con (@Home) panel that runs 43-minutes in length, as well as four short featurettes that total up to roughly 6 minutes. So, that’s a good 49 to 50 minutes or so of extras. Then, you get a digital copy of the film (in HD) on Vudu. It’s a shame that the digital copy isn’t via Movies Anywhere, as usual with Warner, but I’m sure there were some legal restrictions there with this being an MGM property. That said, this is a nice set of extras for a film released in 2020, of all years. It works and the supplemental material really adds a lot to the experience after you’ve watched the film.
Bonus Materials Rating: 3 (out of 5)
“Bill & Ted Face the Music”, to be a film released during the middle of the craziness that was the year 2020, certainly proves to actually be a charming, heartfelt, and appropriate sequel. These are two characters that folks of my generation grew up loving with “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989) and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” (1991). So, it’s been two going on three decades really since we’ve seen these two amazing actors (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) back as the characters, with some other familiar faces along the way. This succeeds at giving us the much-desired continuation we wanted, carrying on the story of the dudes and where they would be all these years later. You can’t help but feel excited about just that and when you factor in the excellent performances that Winter and Reeves give, there’s no denying it’s really just an impressive sequel.
In terms of video quality here on the Blu-ray debut of the film, this delivers. It comes from a digital source that was shot in resolutions way above 2K and would have actually made for a good 4K physical release. There’s nothing at all to complain about here in terms of the visuals. Instead, there’s a lot to really enjoy and see done justice like the amount of attention put into the set design, costumes, make-up, special effects, and all. This really looks downright ideal and earns itself a perfect rating.
In terms of audio quality here on the Blu-ray, this lossless 5.1 surround mix really manages to push things over the top and do the “Face the Music” part of the title itself justice. The subwoofer will be getting a lot of attention here from primarily the action sequences but also a good deal from the film’s music. And, by the film’s music I don’t just mean the original music or Score, which all do get used nicely, but also some music performed in the movie itself. This 5.1 mix is most-worthy of a perfect 5 rating for audio quality, in my honest opinion, after watching the film now two times.
The bonus materials on the Blu-ray are not quite as long as some had hoped for them to have been but they still manage to be very worthwhile and informative. The Comic-Con@Home panel is one of the best parts of the extras, and you get four short featurettes, as well as a digital copy of the film (on Vudu). It’s a decent set of extras.
Overall, this sequel is most triumphant, and in terms of both video and audio quality, as well as for extras, makes for A Most Excellent Blu-ray release.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
5 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
3 (out of 5) for bonus materials