Philip Carroll’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K."
This was my first time back in a movie theater since March, due to the covid-19 pandemic that's forced all the theaters to shut down. This was also my first time watching this movie from start to finish. I remember seeing bits and pieces of it as a kid while flipping through channels on tv but never in it's entirety. Needless to say, this was a fun romp that mostly holds up, but suffers from some redundancy and pacing issues towards the middle.
Bill and Ted are best friends that have dreams to be in a great rock band one day. Unfortunately, they are slacking on their school work and are in danger of flunking their history class. To make matters worse, Ted's father is now threatening to send him off to military school. All their hopes seem lost until that night when a phone booth appears with a man named Rufus who claims to be from the future. Rufus offers them the use of his time traveling phone booth to go back to all these famous moments in history and meet the people that they are studying in class. So they go and do just that but things get complicated along the way.
I believe this is the movie that made Keanu Reeves a major star and there are few roles that he's been more perfect for. 80s star Alex Winter was also a brilliant choice. Together, they have such good chemistry onscreen and you can tell how well they hit it off during filming. Frankly, the whole first act up until they start time traveling is probably the best part of the movie. I loved getting to know their characters and the jokes were really landing as well. The whole bit with Bill's stepmom only being 3 years older than them was hilarious. Granted, the introduction to the time machine was fun with George Carlin playing it straight while talking in Bill and Ted's lingo. Then they start time traveling and it's just them picking up one famous figure after another and shoving them all in the ever expanding phone booth while flying in front of a green screen with some horribly dated special effects. There are a few funny moments here and there while the guys are snagging up people from different time periods but mostly it just becomes tedious after a while. We also get some fish out of water scenes with Napoleon, whom the guys left with Ted's younger brother to watch but that all just felt slapped together last minute and nothing really clever happens with that. It eventually becomes a race against time as the phone booth's antenna breaks and the guys have to figure out a way to get to their history class presentation or fail the class.
It's a fun and wacky premise that works because of Reeves and Winter's performances and chemistry together. This isn't a movie that you're supposed to think too much on the logic or details of the plot. Though, one does wonder how or why the teachers would buy into the fact that these people that Bill and Ted brought to their history final were the actual historical figures they were studying. I mean, putting on a light show and having them quote themselves isn't exactly convincing. Regardless, I still appreciated the humor and sci-fi elements of how they handled time travel and ended up having a moderately good time at the theater again. It was good to be back.
P.S. where are Bill and Ted's moms? Are they dead? I know Bill has his stepmom but what happened to their bio moms? I just found it strange that they are never seen or mentioned.