Warning: I’m absolutely going to tell you the ending, and then perhaps we can all sing Reach by S Club 7, the true song to unite humanity. (Or read my review! Here.)
Sadly it’s not a happy meeting with Grohl, as it occurs five years in the future when “Sir” Bill and “Sir” Ted are pretending – to present day Bill and Ted – to be hugely-successful rockstars; with Ted sporting a top hat and shiny leggings, and Bill delighting in a hairstyle best described as hard rock beachy waves. Their (musical) cover is blown when Grohl turns up, wondering why they’re in his house.
Their claims to have been knighted are also false, though it’s a nice nod to Excellent Adventure where they clattered around medieval England in armour, while trying to woo the Princesses. All of this is to distract from the fact that they still haven’t written the song to unite humanity.
Neither have Bill & Ted +2, the versions of themselves two years into their future – they were particularly bitter, as present day Bill and Ted’s actions turn out to have resulted in the Princesses leaving them.
Luckily a later trip to Deathbed Bill & Ted finds that they do, finally, have a song! The be-whiskered wrinklies give it to present day Bill & Ted on a memory stick labelled Preston / Logan, which Dennis the killer robot then destroys. Oops.
Mostly Face The Music does a good job incorporating the old and the new, with nods to the previous films, and an extended trip to Hell. Familiar set-ups are given an injection of current day fashions, attitudes and music which feel more like naturally evolving progression rather than shoehorning.
Thanks to the pandemic though, and god knows how many other natural and man-made disasters which now seem to befall us on an almost weekly basis, the film seems to be taking on a new role over and above that of cheery end to unfinished movie business.
Beyond nostalgia, Bill and Ted Face The Music is about the power of friendship, having each other’s backs and collaboration in the face of danger, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that it has also become the balm for late 2020.
Cinemas – often a refuge from problems both personal and large-scale – are still shut in many parts of the world, and even if they’re open many film lovers just aren’t prepared to take the risk (particularly if our own So-Not-Great Leaders seem to be making up the rules as they go along). I can’t be the only one trying to balance relief at near-empty screenings with the knowledge that cinemas need to be busier to survive.
Face The Music has come out in UK cinemas, and on digital and in theatres in the US. After the physics- and action-heavy bombast of TENET this is a much smaller, lower-key cinematic offering, but it’s also soothing, full of old characters we know while beckoning us onwards. Where else can we go? We can’t live in the past even if we can learn from it.
Its ending is a gentle yet firm passing of the baton. The song to save humanity, talked about through the film as a Preston/Logan collaboration, turns out to be the creation not of Ted and Bill but of their daughters Billie and Thea.
After Dennis the anxious robot lasers most of the characters into Hell, Billie and Thea have to talk Death – still licking his wounds after his exit from Wyld Stallyns – into rejoining the band. He eventually relents, whisking them back to modern day San Dimas, though they reappear in the middle of a traffic jam (at junction MP46, to be precise).
The deadline when reality collapses is fast approaching, so Billie and Thea use their musical samples and ideas as the basis for a free-form collaboration between themselves and the musicians they’ve brought from the past.
Their dads, and mums are their helpers and cheerleaders, travelling through time and space and splitting into every different reality, passing out instruments to everyone as they go. Eventually all inhabitants of every reality are united playing this one song.
It’s a sweet, definitive and very 21st century full stop to the story of two bouncy but diffident men who never quite believe they can pull anything off – but are always prepared to give it a go anyway.
Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey (the only one of the three I haven’t reviewed) remains my favourite but Face The Music surely does what it needed to do: as an ending to Bill and Ted’s journeys, as a potential launchpad for Billie and Thea’s own future cinematic adventures, and as a comfort blanket for its battered audience.