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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: October 11th, 2022 Movie Release Year: 1989

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

After thirty years and two direct sequels, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure has most triumphantly stood the test of time and remains a righteously hilarious cult comedy classic. Courtesy of Shout! Factory, the beloved comedy lands on 4K Ultra HD with a most excellent Dolby Vision video and a righteous pair of DTS-HD MA tracks. Sadly lacking the same collection of supplements from the previous releases, this UHD edition nonetheless makes a Recommended addition for those that didn't import the StudioCanal 4K package but do own the Most Excellent Collection set.

Wyld Stallyns couldn't drag you away from this EXCELLENT ADVENTURE!

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure finds our non-heinous heroes (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) in danger of flunking History – a most odious proposition! But when the righteous Rufus (George Carlin) arrives in a time-traveling phone booth, the dense dudes discover their destiny ... and call on the past's biggest names for help!

Please Note: This release only includes a 4K UHD disc—it does not contain a Blu-ray disc.

Bonus Features

  • 4K Restoration By Studio Canal
  • Dolby Vision, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio, English Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary With Actor Alex Winter And Producer Scott Kroopf
  • Audio Commentary With Writers Chris Matheson And Ed Solomon
  • "Time Flies When You Are Having Fun! – A Look Back At A Most Excellent Adventure" Featuring Interviews With Actors Alex Winter And Keanu Reeves, Producer Scott Kroopf, Composer David Newman, Supporting Dan Shor, Rod Loomis, Clifford David, Al Leong, Terry Camilleri, And Jane Wiedlin, Special Make-Up Effects Designer Kevin Yagher And More!

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10
Length:
90
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.35:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Special Features:
Trailer
Release Date:
October 11th, 2022

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

By all accounts, the plot of two headbanging dimwits with a limited vocabulary — a strange amalgamation of Valleyspeak, surfer and stoner — should not be this much fun, but shockingly, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a "most triumphant" piece of entertainment. This is most definitely to the credit of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters for turning the titular characters into a likable pair we don't mind spending time with, playing off one another like complementary halves of the same personality. After George Carlin recklessly hands over the keys of a time machine to the lovable dolts, the Wyld Stallyns kidnap major historical figures and essentially cheat on their final history exam. But throwing logic and consequences out the window, the totally bonkers silliness is a cleverly deceptive commentary on the importance of a good education, and that even a pair of clueless slackers can make a significant contribution to history. The cult comedy classic remains a most righteous adventure through history encouraging everyone to be excellent to each other and party on.

We've covered Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure previously, so check out our past reviews:

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Shout! Factory brings Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure to 4K Ultra HD as a single-disc Collector's Edition under the distributor's Shout Select line (spine #139). The Region Free, triple-layered UHD100 disc is housed inside a black, eco-elite keepcase. At startup, viewers are taken to an animated menu screen with music playing in the background.

Video Review

Ranking:

According to the Shout! Factory website, the same 4K remaster created by StudioCanal for their European UHD release was used for this U.S. UHD edition. Back-and-forth comparisons reveal no significant difference between the two encodes even though this version was graded for Dolby Vision HDR. With that, my initial assessment remains the same.

Here is what I originally wrote:

"[The beloved cult comedy classic] crashes into home theaters with a most excellent and totally righteous HEVC H.265 encode. It's not a huge leap forward or offering the sort of night and day difference compared to previous releases, but this native 4K transfer is nonetheless a welcomed upgrade over its Blu-ray peers. 

"Overall definition and clarity are very sharp and distinct where we can plainly make out the fabric, threading and tiny fuzzballs in the various costumes. Of course, considering its age and condition of the source, the video has its share of soft moments here and there, and they are the same scenes as those in the BD releases, implying they are inherent to original elements. Nevertheless, for a 30-plus-year-old movie, the comedy and the special effects have aged extraordinarily well, and facial complexions are remarkably revealing in the many close-ups. Awash with a very fine layer of natural grain, the 2.35:1 image has an awesome film-like quality that fans will absolutely love.

"Likewise, contrast and brightness are not a leaps and bounds improvement, but whites are a bit more lustrous and vivid throughout while black levels are slightly richer and truer. Shadow details, on the other hand, offer an appreciable uptick, exposing more background information and providing the picture with considerable depth. Similarly, specular highlights enjoy a small boost, supplying the visuals FX and action with a crisper and narrower brilliance along the edge of clouds in the sky and dazzling electrical show around the vintage phone booth. 

"The most attractive feature in this [Dolby Vision HDR] presentation is the wider color gamut, displaying a better and more varied selection in the primaries. Reds are deeper and more animated while blues are more spirited and dynamic, and greens are livelier and more upbeat. Better still, a sumptuous and diverse array of secondary hues enliven the journey with lots of royal purples and violets, sunny marigold yellows, vivacious teals and eye-popping tiger oranges. Facial complexions benefit from this improvement, showing an accurate peachy rosiness in the cast while revealing pores, wrinkles and negligible blemishes, making this a most excellent and colorful adventure through time." (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 80/100)

Audio Review

Ranking:

Like the video, the same pair of DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks — the original 2.0 stereo track and the 5.1 surround upmix — from the Most Excellent Collection are ported over for this release. Here are my thoughts from that review:

"Remaining faithful to the film's original design, [The Wyld Stallyns rock out with] a very front-heavy presentation with excellent channel separation and balance. Imaging feels very broad and welcoming with convincing off-screen effects and directionality. Music spreads evenly across the entire soundstage with clean acoustics and fidelity. Dynamic range is precise and smooth with plenty of intelligible detail and clarity, providing the movie with an appreciable sense of space and presence. The low-end is not all that aggressive, which is none too surprising, but it's appropriate to the action and accurately responsive. Dialogue is crisp and distinct in the center, making this lossless mix a most excellent presentation of a fun movie." (Audio Rating: 84/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

Unfortunately, the same assortment of supplements is ported over from Shout! Factory's 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook release. 

  • Audio Commentaries
  • Time Flies When You Are Having Fun! (HD, 61 min)
  • Trailer (HD)

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure has stood the test of time and remains a hilariously entertaining hit that follows a pair of righteous dudes through history. Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winters and George Carlin, the cult comedy classic is one of the most triumphantly awesome time-traveling movies, made purely for laughs and flying against the face of logic in a vintage phone booth. Borrowing the same 4K remaster as StudioCanal's UHD release, the beloved cult comedy classic crashes into 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Shout! Factory with a most excellent Dolby Vision HDR presentation and a triumphant pair of DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Sadly porting over the same assortment of supplements as their SteelBook release, this UHD edition is nonetheless recommended for fans who held back from importing the UK version but makes a good addition to owners of the Most Excellent Collection Blu-ray set. 

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.