Time travel is usually the domain of smart people. Whether it be H. George Wells in H.G. Well’s The Time Machine, Mr. Peabody or Dr. Who, those who go back and forth in time were rather brainy and had a grasp of history. This all changed when two goofballs from Southern California were given the ability to go back in time for a serious mission: they must not flunk history or the future will be destroyed. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure had its heroes going back into a past that neither could fully grasp. They can barely pronounce the names of their famous time travelling companions. Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection combines their two films into a boxset that will have you forget what time it is.
Deep in San Dimas, California live Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves). They are two high schoolers who aren’t exactly debating what Ivy League college is in their future. They have only the dream of making their band Wyld Stallyns to become bigger than Van Halen. Trouble is that neither knows how to play guitar. All that will be solved when they lure Eddie Van Halen into the band except they have no way of getting Eddie to join them. Even their delusion of rock success if on the rocks. Ted’s father has warned him that if he doesn’t get pass hit history class, he’ll be shipped off to a military school in Alaska. What nobody in the present really knows is how important it is that the boys keep going with their band. While hanging out in the Circle K parking lot, the duo get a visitor from the future with a time travelling phone booth. Rufus (George Carlin) wants the boys to use his phone booth to travel through history so they can pass their exam. Instead of merely seeing the sights, the boys bring historic figures back to San Dimas. Can Joan of Arc (Go-Gos’ Jane Wiedlin) really cope with modern life? Will Bill and Ted figure out how to pass history class?
Not to give away the ending, but they did make Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The duo are now living in their own cramped apartment and have Wyld Stallyns booked to be on a battle of the bands hosted by Pam Grier (Foxy Brown). The guys are stoked since the princesses are part of the band. The trouble is they still can’t play guitar while the princesses have learned their instruments. In the future, Chuck De Nomolos (Mighty Ducks‘ Chuck De Nomolos) is tired of living in a world that worships Bill & Ted. He leads a revolt against Rufus and hijacks a phonebooth for his big plan. He has made evil robot versions of Bill & Ted. He sends them back in time to kill the human versions of Bill & Ted and ruin the battle of the bands. The robots eventually kill Bill & Ted. But the movie doesn’t end. Instead the duo have to get Death (William Sadler) to bring them back to life. The duo must face off against Hell and Heaven in order to win the battle of bands and save humanity.
Both films are amazing and hold up after all these years. The big plus for the films is the chemistry between Keanu and Alex. While they’re both playing rather dim characters, they aren’t the same characters split up. Ted’s a lovable puppy. Bill’s the scheming cat that doesn’t quite grasp gravity. You don’t get angry or frustrated at their less than cerebral antics. Ever since the first film was an unexpected hit, studios have cranked out movies about rather clueless teens on adventures. Yet none have succeeded at this level. Dude, Where’s My Car? falls so short of this standard. The fact that Bogus continues the adventure without doing another jaunt through history makes it more entertaining. This is so much better than Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Collection is the perfect way to let a good time last longer.
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic for Excellent and 1.85:1 anamorphic for Bogus. Both have fine transfers that allow you to appreciate Keanu’s most excellent hairdo. The audio for both is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. The levels are great for rocking out with the Wyld Stallyns. The movies are subtitled.
Wyld Stallyns Guitar Pick is a must for your air guitar action.
Audio Commentary on Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with Star Alex Winter and Producer Scott Kroopf There’s a second track with the writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. They lay out how things came together on the page.
Audio Commentary for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey continues the conversation between Alex Winter and Scott Kroopf. The second track has more from Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon.
Time Flies When You Are Having Fun! (61:14) gives a deep exploration of Excellent Adventure with Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, cast and crew. The screenwriter explains how they created Bill & Ted as a comedy routine. The best part is Alex and Keanu are sitting next to each other as they talk about the film. It’s a reunion. They have fond memories of bonding during the casting process.
Bill & Ted Go To Hell (52:04) revisits Bogus Journey covers how the sequel was developed. The same folks talk including more of Keanu and Alex. featuring Stars Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and several other members of the cast and crew. Keanu and Alex just need to make any new movie. Alex has made amazing documentaries about Napster and the Deep Web.
The Most Triumphant Making-Of (30:53) is a previous edition documentary. The big difference is the inclusion of co-screenwriter Chris Matheson.
The Original Bill & Ted: In Conversation with Chris & Ed (20:15) lets the writers perform as the characters.
The Hysterical Personages of Bill & Ted (15:27) gives a little historical background on the historial figures.
Score! An Interview with Guitarist Steve Vai (12:46) let’s the guitarist from Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth reflect how he played before he had strings. Vai was the wild riffs used by Wyld
Air Guitar Tutorial (13:15) are tips from Bjorn Turoque & The Rockness Monster. This is what people did before Guitar Hero.
Vintage EPK (6:39) are the interviews from the set of Bogus.
The Linguistic Stylings of Bill and Ted (3:41) deals with how the duo talk.
Theatrical Trailers are for both films.
Shout! Factory presents Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection. Directed by: Stephen Herek & Pete Hewitt. Screenplay by: Chris Matheson & Ed Solomon. Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, William Sadler. Boxset Contents: 2 movies on 3 Blu-ray discs. Rated: PG. Released: September 27, 2016.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.