With a third installment about to arrive soon, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure has most triumphantly stood the test of time and remains a righteously hilarious cult comedy classic. Imported from StudioCanal UK, the beloved comedy lands on Ultra HD with a most excellent 4K HDR10 presentation and a righteous DTS-HD stereo soundtrack. With a cool treasure trove of supplements to boot, this UHD edition is most definitely Recommended.
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 essentially 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 is a most righteous adventure through history encouraging everyone to be excellent to each other and party on.
For our take on Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, you can read our review of the Limited Blu-ray SteelBook Edition HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Imported from the United Kingdom, StudioCanal brings Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a paper flyer for the upcoming third installment. The dual-layered Region Free UHD66 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region B BD50 disc inside a black, slightly thicker than normal keepcase with a bright, shiny slipcover. The package also features a 44-page booklet on glossy paper with an essay by Hadley Freeman of The Guardian, production notes and lots of photos. At startup, the disc commences with a choice between German or English before switching to an animated menu screen with full-motion clips playing on another screen that takes a portion of the top left corner.
Reportedly coming from a brand-new 4K remaster and restoration of the original camera elements, the beloved cult comedy 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 2.39:1 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 HDR10 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. (HDR10 Video Rating: 84/100)
For this 4K Ultra HD edition, StudioCanal provides the same DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo soundtrack enjoyed in previous Blu-ray releases. It's a most triumphant front-heavy presentation, exhibiting outstanding acoustical detailing in the action and precise, well-prioritized dialogue reproduction. The low-end is appropriate for a comedy of this vintage and accurately responsive. The lossless mix also does splendidly well when applying the receivers' Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality, effortlessly spreading many of the atmospherics and the musical score all around the listening area, generating an appreciable sense of space and presence from beginning to end.
For a more in-depth take on the audio quality, you can read our review of the Limited SteelBook collector's edition HERE. (Audio Rating: 84/100)
Along with a pair of audio commentaries and an hour-long retrospective ported over from the previous Blu-ray release, this Ultra HD edition packs the same healthy collection of bonus material found on Shout! Factory's Most Excellent Collection and can be enjoyed on the accompanying BD disc.
Ultra HD Disc
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. With Face the Music in the very near future, StudioCanal UK brings the beloved comedy to Ultra HD with a most excellent audio and video presentation. Featuring a pair of new commentary tracks and an engaging retrospective, this is a great HD edition recommended for everyone looking for a phone booth of laughs and fun.