Ah yes, the quintessential time-traveling caper. Wait, that might have to go to Back to the Future. Maybe we could call Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure the quintessential time-traveling caper where everything goes pretty much according to plan without any serious consequences. I mean, the antenna on their time machine does break, but that's easily repaired with a fix-it montage. There's nothing that happens that puts their existence on the line.
I first saw the movie when I was but a wee tike, and back then I found it a bit annoying with all the dudular surfer vernacular. Didn't help that history was towards the bottom on my list of favorite school subjects. But I do have a newfound appreciation for this movie, although there are the ever-present details that I find to be a bit irksome.
As per usual, their portrayal of women is pretty abysmal - the female characters are not much more than stereotypes and pretty weakly developed. The princesses need Bill and Ted to rescue them from their terrible father who was going to make them marry against their will, Bill's stepmom's a milf, and of course if Joan of Arc came to the 80's she'd totally want to lead aerobics classes!
I also find it rather dubious that the things Napoleon would be most excited about in today's society are ice cream and waterparks. Both are pretty awesome, but I bet something like Risk would be much more up his alley. I did laugh really hard at the brother's justification for ditching Napoleon though, as yes, I don't think I'd enjoy entertaining a man so obnoxious his name is commonly associated with an inferiority complex either.
Let me also say thanks for the white-centric view of history. The only non-western figure is Genghis Khan, and he's just there so the audience can giggle at the hedonistic warrior who can destroy a sporting goods store with his wicked martial arts skills but can't express coherent thoughts.
I also get a little irritated by how super futuristic societies are always super sterile and cold, and there's never any plant life! Is there some understood agreement among set designers that our future will be devoid of plant life because we're going to destroying it all?
Then there's the ever present technical glitch: no way would they be using external antennae 600 years into the future. But then how would you set up said everyone-work-together-and-fix-it montage of historical figures chewing gum and eating canned something or other to repair it, you say? Point taken.
So I guess this movie is pretty heavy on the criticism for my part, but there are some upsides. For one, Keanu Reeves is super happy in this flick, which is nice to see as he seems to have been a bit depressed lately.
Despite the duo's generally vacant attitudes, they do a surprisingly admirable job of reminding themselves of what they should do whenever they meet up with themselves later on in their adventure. So good job for giving meatheads a chance and showing an alternative to at least one traditional stereotype. I guess.
We'll wrap things up with the two oft-repeated mantras of the two that do offer some really good advice that I think we can all live by: be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!