Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent adventure indeed, this time travelling buddy comedy could have easily been a poor man’s Back to the Future, but it instead does its own thing and managed to become a fairly beloved cult film, which introduced many people to Keanu Reeves and super megastar Alex Winter :).  It has now finally arrived on Blu-ray for people to continue to enjoy.  The film revolves around two slackers getting their lives together via a time travel machine in the form of a phone booth, which will help them complete their all-important high school history project.  This may sound extraordinarily silly for those who haven’t seen it, but it has a good heart and manages to be cleverer than it may seem as well.  Read on to learn more about the film and whether the Blu-ray is bogus or righteous.


The film features Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Alex Winter) and “Ted” Theorore Logan (Keanu Reeves); two metal heads with dreams of becoming hugely famous rock stars, but are currently slackers in high school.  In the beginning of the film, we are told by a man from the future named Rufus (George Carlin) that the future will be a glorious utopian society due to the inspiration and wisdom of Bill and Ted, who would come to be known as the Two Great Ones, but that can all change if they don’t pass high school.  Cut to the present, we find that Bill and Ted are best friends and leaders of the band known as “Wyld Stallyns”, but if they don’t pass their history class, they will be split up, which will change the future.

The solution (isn’t it obvious):  Rufus travels back in time and gives Bill and Ted the ultimate opportunity to pass their class by using a time machine that is in the form of a telephone booth, to go through history and pick up influential figures throughout time.  Bill and Ted accept this adventure and spend the film traveling to different time periods and picking up historical figures (including Billy the Kid, Socrates, Napoleon, Genghis Kahn, and Abraham Lincoln) in an effort to have them all participate in their history project, thus helping them get the A+ they need to pass the class.  If it all works out, then these dudes can definitely party down.  If it doesn’t, then things will be bogus.

At this point, yes, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is fairly dated in tone and in its use of effects.  It was made on a fairly minimal budget and certainly does not try to take itself seriously.  That said, I have always had a soft spot for this film, because it has a very sweet nature to it and it is a lot of fun.  The film is in no way mean-spirited and has a great sense of camaraderie in the way it presents friendship.  The premise is goofy, but the film is about having a good time, based on a novel time traveling premise.

While the time travel logic that is presented in this film does not exactly make sense, when thinking about the “technology” that is utilized and the concept of “the butterfly effect”, the film is actually cleverer than it seems, when it comes to dealing with looping back to ideas that could potentially happen (that’s the simplest way I could describe my thoughts there, without going cross-eyed).  Writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon may have layered the film in what we now see as 80s nostalgia, but there is a brain inside the script, which has a number of ideas that are fun to think about.  Emphasizing both this and the well-meaning tone, it is actually fun to think about the idea that ‘Bill and Ted’ is one of the few films that has a utopian depiction of the future, without anything dark lurking underneath.

Logic and plot aside, the casting of this film works quite well.  Reeves and Winter may just seem to be all “dude” and “bogus” in their delivery (and its always weird, given that they live in San Dimas, CA, which is not exactly a surfer haven), but they are very likable guys and I think it takes quite a bit to make something like that work in a full-length film.  It doesn’t hurt that George Carlin has popped up for a small role either, which is incredibly strange to think about, knowing more about Carlin now than when I was younger.  And of course, the supporting cast of historical figures all highlight the most overdrawn facts about the characters they portray and apply these things in the goofiest ways possible, but I still enjoy watching it.  I always consider Napoleon interacting with the modern world to be quite enjoyable as a matter of fact.

I don’t know what the overall thoughts are from general audiences about Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but I know that I still enjoy it (as well as the underrated sequel) and find it to be a fun film to revisit now and again.  I may not need another entry in this franchise, which seems to pop up in the news every few months, but I like the energy that these films present.  They are fun without being mean-spirited, clever without being too complicated, and goofy without making me feel stupid.  I have said in the past that I tend to really like time travel movies and while ‘Bill and Ted’ may not be super high on the list, it still serves as a fun time traveling buddy flick.


For a film like this, which is low budget and appreciated by a cult audience, I was surprised how good it turned out looking on Blu-ray.  The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer may not be as good as say the Back to the Future Blu-ray (which has all that Universal Studios dough backing it), but the transfer is pretty clean, even if it does point out the obvious special effects being utilized.  The fact that this is a 2:35:1 widescreen film emphasizes how the filmmakers made the most out of this film as well.  While the budget was low, a time traveling adventure is given a rousing feel thanks to the effort put forth and thankfully, while fairly grainy and fuzzy in some instances, especially towards the beginning, the Blu-ray transfer is more than just decent.


Similarly, the audio transfer is fairly solid as well.  The film is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which does enough justice to the whole 80s vibe that this film has soundtrack-wise.  The music and type of themes that come up register well enough on this Blu-ray, as does the totally awesome dialogue, where we here plenty of “whoas” and “dudes”.  It is certainly not a bombastic soundtrack, even as the film leads to high velocity time travel sequences and montages, but it works well enough.


This Blu-ray release is not an anniversary edition or any sort of special edition, but it does have a small amount of extras ported over from the previous DVD release, dropping some from that release in the process.  Some of the stuff that remains is fine, just don’t be surprised if you’re not getting the full Wyld Stallyns experience.

Features Include:

The Original Bill & Ted: In Conversation with Chris & Ed – A way to get a feel for where the ideas for these characters came from.

Air Guitar Tutorial with Bjorn Turoque & The Rockness Monster – If you needed to learn how to do some serious air guitaring, here is the feature for you.

One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure To Go – One of the episodes of the old Bill & Ted cartoon.

Radio Spots

Theatrical Trailer


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure continues to be a fun time traveling comedy that is an easy watch with a lot to like.  I think it has such a cult following because the film is reflects a certain sense of nostalgia that people have about the high concept 80s films, but it is elevated by the fact that the movie is actually pretty clever.  Thankfully the Blu-ray is not a complete wash, as it surprisingly looks and sounds pretty good, even though the extras are just recycled from the old DVD.  Regardless, those looking for the best way to see Bill & Ted and don’t want to hold out for a Special Edition around the time the supposed third film comes out, this is the one for you.  Party on Dudes!

Order Your Copy Here:

Additionally, here’s a fun infographic that chronicles the dudes’ journeys through time:

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

Comments are currently closed.