Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin
Extras: Trailer

Ah yes, there’s nothing like a trip down memory lane courtesy of a newly released DVD. I first saw ’Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ during college and then — as now — nothing could have been a finer tonic for the overworked mind. At long last this much-requested movie is available on DVD but the lack of a special edition is really rather perplexing.

Ted ’Theodore’ Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Alex Winter) — AKA Wyld Stallyns — are two good-natured, but dimwitted, high schoolers who find themselves whisked away on a time travel adventure while loitering outside the local Circle-K. It seems that these lads are destined for great things and their guide from the future, Rufus (George Carlin), is only too happy to help them flesh out their do-or-die school project. Picking up Socrates, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, and Abraham Lincoln — not to mention two medieval princess babes — the duo prepares to unleash the ultimate history presentation on the unsuspecting students and faculty of San Dimas High.

’Bill & Ted’ is fun in a way that very few teen films these days are. They might be dumb as stumps but the boys are perpetual optimists without an ounce of malice in their bodies. Add to that the over-the-top comedy inherent in a bunch of historical figures set loose in a suburban mall and a water park and what you wind up with is a fun little film.

’Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ is presented in anamorphic widescreen and is framed at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The overall image quality is somewhat lackluster but still watchable. The image is slightly soft with far too many blemishes on the source elements. But colors are fairly accurate and black levels are quite good as well. It looks like the materials used to create this transfer weren’t in the best of shape and no restoration whatsoever was undertaken.

Audio is a fairly subdued English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The soundstage is firmly anchored to the front speakers with an almost unnoticeable amount of surround usage sneaking in here and there. Dynamic range is also a bit restricted with very little bass present. Dialogue is clear for the most part although the directional effects utilizing the left and right speakers may throw some.

The only bonus feature is the film’s original theatrical trailer. Funny as it is, this one meager extra doesn’t begin to do justice to a film of this magnitude…dude.

’Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ is one of those films that viewers will either love or hate. Very much a product of its time, I can’t imagine that the film will pick up many new fans as a result of this DVD release. But if you grew up watching it on cable or during its initial theatrical run and can’t get enough of those time travel hijinks then the DVD is a no-brainer. Sure the quality isn’t all that great but the disc can be had for under ten bucks and should provide hours of fun while waiting for the inevitable special edition a year or two from now (sorry MGM but we’ve got your number). And always remember, ’Be excellent to each other.’