"Funny and Sometimes Endearing, but Theologically Unacceptable"
What You Need To Know:
BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC has some silly humor that’s funny and entertaining. Also, the story contains tender, heartfelt moments despite the silliness. That said, some of the comedy misses the mark, and the plot is sometimes too frantic. The movie has strong moral, redemptive elements promoting love, forgiveness, family, and sacrifice. However, though the movie’s goofy tone is lighthearted and not malicious, the movie’s worldview contains strong New Age elements with false, misleading New Age theology. BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC also has some foul language and some comedy bits featuring Jesus.
In BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC, two middle-aged, not very bright rock guitarists use a time travel device to consult their future selves to search for the song they’re supposed to write to save Reality from being destroyed and bring harmony to the world. BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC is fitfully funny, with some heartfelt, endearing moments and positive lessons about love and forgiveness, but the movie is dominated by some New Age concepts, including the idea that universal salvation is possible, and there’s some foul language and a comical reference to incest in one scene.
The movie opens with a wedding reception for Ted’s brother, who’s marrying their former stepmother. Bill and Ted are married, and each have a 24-year-old daughter. For 25 years, they’ve been trying to write the song that’s supposed to unite the world. They introduce a new song at the wedding reception, but it sounds terrible. Everyone criticizes the new song except for Ted’s daughter Billie and Bill’s daughter Thea, who love rock music like their dads and even talk like them. Meanwhile, Ted’s father complains that neither Ted nor Bill have actual jobs, and their daughters only sit around at home listening to music.
In the next scene, Bill and Ted go to a marriage counselor with their wives, but together. Both men have trouble saying “I love you” to their wives individually. Instead, Bill and Ted are so in sync with one another that they can only say, “We love you guys,” or “Elizabeth, I and Bill love you and Joanna.” Elizabeth tells Bill and Ted that she and Joanna are having problems staying together with their husbands after watching them failing for 25 years to create the song that will unite humanity. The counselor asks to talk with the wives alone, so Bill and Ted drive to Ted’s house, where their daughters are discussing some music in the garage.
The girls go into the house, and Ted confides in Bill that he’s tired of knocking their heads together to create the perfect song to unite the world. He’s thinking of selling his electric Les Paul guitar. At that moment, a woman named Kelly from the year 2720 arrives in a time machine. She tells Bill and Ted she’s the daughter of the man who told Bill and Ted they will write the song that will unite the world and “bring harmony and rhythm to humanity.” She takes them back with her to 2720 to talk with the Great Leader. The Great Leader tells Bill and Ted they only have 77 minutes and 25 seconds to create the song that will unite humanity and “save Reality as we know it.” She orders Bill and Ted to get to work, then disappears. Ted asks Kelly how can a song save reality as we know it. Kelly says she doesn’t know how, but, unless Bill and Ted create the song, reality will collapse, and Time and Space will cease to exist. She gives them her late father’s watch so they can keep track of the time.
Left alone in a large room containing about 10 fancy electric guitars, Bill and Ted don’t think they can write such a song in the next 77 minutes, now 75 minutes. Ted suggests they take the telephone booth time machine from the two previous movies two years into the future to take the song from their future selves. One problem, though. “Wouldn’t that be stealing?” Ted asks Bill. “How is that stealing,” Bill replies, “if we’re taking it from ourselves, dude?”
So, Bill and Ted travel two years into the future, only to find they still haven’t written the song. Not only that, but their wives have left them. Using the time machine, they frantically return to the marriage counselor’s office, but they only make matters worse. They rush out of the office to fix things, thinking they should travel five years into the future to take the song from their future selves.
Meanwhile, back in 2720, the Great Leader and the time travel council have decided that the prophecy of Kelly’s father has been misinterpreted. They think reality can only be saved if Bill and Ted are dead. So, they send a robot into the past to find and kill Bill and Ted.
Kelly tries to stop the robot by taking her time machine back to Ted’s house, where she thinks the robot will appear shortly looking for Bill and Ted. She encounters Bill and Ted’s daughters, Billy and Thea, and agrees to let them take the time machine to round up a band to play the new song their fathers will write. The girls travel back to 1967 to enlist Jimi Hendrix, but he doesn’t believe them. So, they travel back to the 1920s to recruit jazz great Louis Armstrong. They show Armstrong a video of Hendrix playing guitar during one of his more appealing guitar solos, and he agrees to go with them. With Armstrong’s help, they convince Hendrix. However, after they recruit Mozart and a few other new band members, including a drummer from Ancient Africa, they encounter the robot. The robot kills them and sends them to Hell. Bill and Ted learn from the robot what happened to their daughters. They now must find a way to go to Hell and retrieve their beloved children.
BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC has some goofy humor that’s funny and entertaining. Also, the story has some tender, heartfelt moments despite all the silliness. That said, some of the comedy misses the mark, and the frantic subplots sometimes distract from the main plotline. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter’s (aka Ted and Bill) team seems to pack a little too much into the story, which features many characters.
In the credit column, BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC has a strong moral, redemptive premise and elements promoting love, forgiveness, family, and sacrifice. This content gives an endearing quality to parts of the movie. In the end, Bill and Ted are finally able to say, “I love you” directly to their wives. Also, their relationship with their daughters is endearing.
However, on the debit side, BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC has a strong mixed pagan worldview overall. Thus, despite its moral, redemptive themes, it also has strong New Age elements about bringing world peace and harmony through music and working together instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Gospel doesn’t just include love and salvation by grace through faith but also includes self-control, being obedient to God’s moral commands in the whole Bible, and transforming the world by making Christian disciples of all nations and teaching them everything Jesus commanded His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). The movie’s New Age themes suggest a kind of false New Age universalism where the world is saved by a false New Age theology that includes redeeming every single human being throughout time is united in harmony and love, instead of salvation through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross and through the power of God’s Grace and the Holy Spirit.
In addition to this New Age message, the movie shows different historical figures, including George Washington, Babe Ruth and Jesus, being displaced in time as time and space starts to fold in on itself. For example, Babe Ruth takes Washington’s place on the boat crossing the Delaware River during the Battle of Trenton. Also, Jesus suddenly disappears during the Last Supper and ends up on stage at a rap concert. At the end [POSSIBLE SPOILER], Jesus is briefly shown back at the Last Supper, where He and the apostles are shown playing instruments as all of humanity across time participates in the instrumental song that Bill, Ted, their daughters, Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, and Louis Armstrong eventually use “to save reality as we know it.”
Also, when Bill and Ted go to Hell to save their daughters, the place is depicted as the fire and brimstone place it’s often depicted as in some Christian and other illustrations and paintings of the past. However, there’s not much pain associated with this Hell. Bill and Ted find their daughters and the musicians they’ve recruited using pickaxes to break rocks, like some kind of prison movie. Eventually, it turns out that escaping Hell is somewhat easy to do, especially if you get help from the Grim Reaper.
Of course, all this New Age content and the references to Hell and Jesus are played in a light comical manner, with tongue in cheek. So, it’s not maliciously Anti-Christian, or maliciously mocking Jesus or the Gospel. However, it mars the movie enough to make it unacceptable. BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC may not be not abhorrent like the second BILL & TED movie, which contained some occult content, but its worldview problems probably will confuse unbelievers and people who aren’t trained in Christian doctrine or the Bible, especially impressionable children and teenagers.
BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC also contains brief foul language and the incest joke about Ted’s younger brother and their stepmother.