For fans, this has been a long time coming . . . so was it worth the wait???

The answer . . . yes . . . and no . . . but mostly yes.

Let's face it . . . at this point Bill and Ted fans really can't be choosy . . . there has been so little new material released about these movies that anything new is welcome!!  And it's obvious that the people behind this set put it together with us in mind and must be fans themselves.  They really worked on offering something we would enjoy and indeed the set is most excellent in this respect.  It falls short of the ideal box set we would want (equivalent to the types of sets released for films like Back to the Future and Evil Dead and even the upcoming Freaked), which offer slews of extras fans really yearn for like commentary tracks and missing scene footage, even outlines of missing scenes, etc.  But let's be honest . . . our fan base has just not been solid enough for the movie studios to warrant such a release (and to be honest we're not even sure anyone knows where the missing scenes footage is!).  In light of this we're lucky to have a box set at all!  Still, a booklet or insert would have been nice . . . sadly there are none.

But let's not focus on what the set doesn't have and focus on what it does have, and we gotta say it's pretty outstanding!

First of all the packaging is just plain fun.  The outside sleeve of the set is designed like Bill and Ted's phone booth.  Slip it off and you find yourself facing a fun original piece of artwork with Bill, Ted and many of the other characters from Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey.  If I may be so fannish, it's just plain cute!  All the artwork, both on the box and on the extras disc, is well done and just plain fun, as it should be.

The box itself holds the three DVDs.  The movie DVDs are exactly the same as the individual releases in every way and I believe the discs are as well.  So if you've bought the individual DVDs, well, you're buying them again (maybe you can pass on your old ones to someone else . . . share the dudes, dude!).  But hey, fortunately the box set is not that expensive (just over $20 on Amazon.com and similar sites) and it's a nice way to store your Bill and Ted DVDs, most definitely!

Okay, so let's get to this bonus disc which has been titled Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Collection Non-Bogus Disc.  The cover is designed like a Wyld Stallyns cassette demo tape (albeit a rather large one!).  There are a number of special features on this disc which are all unique to this release . . . we have to give the compilers kudos for making sure the materials are all brand spanking new even to the most die-hard fans!  The menu features the complete Reaper Rap song from Bogus Journey overtop, which is most excellent!

We'll now go over each of the special features one by one (we're going to keep spoilers to a minimum, though!):

THE ORIGINAL BILL & TED:
IN CONVERSATION WITH ED AND CHRIS
Produced and Directed by Greg Carson
Edited by Michael Ruiz

Okay, now we're talking!  This is a wonderful interview with Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson in which the former writing partners sit down and reminisce about the origins of Bill and Ted.  This might sound somewhat soppy but it's genuinely heartwarming to see that the friendship from which Bill and Ted were born remains and to learn from the sources how that translated from a simple comedy sketch for an improv workshop turned into a long-lasting and beloved movie phenomenon.

Highlights include the history of the character development, characters which never made the final film (if even the first script draft), how the basic idea for the film evolved, and recollections of when they first met director Stephen Herek and saw Alex and Keanu (after they had already been cast) in the McDonald's in Phoenix, Arizona where Excellent Adventure was about to start filming.  Also discussed is how the first script drafts were written and whether or not there will be a third movie (of special interest is the fact they revealed they did sit recently with Alex and talk about ideas for the humorous possibilities of a third film but they did go on to say none of them are actively pursuing making a third film . . . in Chris' words they don't think the world is exactly clamoring for one!).

Shot in a somewhat distracting over the shoulder style, we never see the two writers in the same shot, just over the shoulder of one another which creates a dialogue setting between the two but somewhat interferes with the interaction going on between them.  And at 20 minutes it feels painfully short . . . one has the impression Ed and Chris could have talked much longer about the history of the scripts and characters so it sadly leaves one wishing for more.  But it's undoubtedly the lengthiest and most in-depth interview with the writers yet and in that sense it's most excellent!


THE MOST TRIUMPHANT MAKING-OF DOCUMENTARY
Produced and Directed by Greg Carson
Edited by Michael Ruiz


This thirty minute documentary does a really good job of encapsulating the creation and production of both Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey.  Interviews are conducted with Ed Solomon, Chris Matheson, Alex Winter, EA director Stephen Herek, BJ director Peter Hewitt, EA production designer Roy Forge Smith and producer Scott Kroopf.  It's a shame Alex and Keanu could not have been interviewed together in the same style as Ed and Chris but we can understand the difficulty in the logistics of that happening these days.  Fortunately Ed and Chris are filmed together for this featurette, which is a much more natural and relaxed way of watching them.

All of the interviews are well done with each person contributing interesting insight into how these movies were made and why they worked.  It's obvious from the way everyone speaks about the movies they all still have a lot of fondness for their work and the results, which is refreshing.

A lot of rare, behind the scenes photographs are used but unfortunately there is very little behind the scenes video and no missing scene footage.  In fact the missing scenes of Bogus Journey are not even discussed, which is a bit of a disappointment.  However a lot of the background information on the making of these movies will be new to even the most ardent fans, making this a very worthwhile documentary.

Again the possibility of a third movie is discussed, but Alex confirms that while the idea has been much discussed it has never gone past the theory stage.  The concern he raises is a good one . . . whether or not a third movie would somehow sully the memory of the first two.  But as always the possibility of a third movie is not totally out of the question, however everything would really have to come together in just the right way for it to happen.

All in all this is a most outstanding documentary featurette and most definitely the highlight of this set's special features.


SCORE!  AN INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST STEVE VAI
Produced and Directed by Greg Carson
Edited by Michael Ruiz


Okay, let's face it . . . Steve Vai is just the coolest guitarist around, so any chance to listen to the legend sit and talk about his work is going to be awesome, which is proved here.  Steve discusses air guitar, working with Frank Zappa, his first film work on Crossroads and his contributions to Bogus Journey, including how he came to write The Reaper Rap and The Reaper.  Of particular interest is when Steve explains the creation of the now-classic guitar piece which opens God Gave Rock and Roll to You II for the Battle of the Bands segment, which was required on an unbelievably tight deadline in the mad dash to get the movie released.  A fascinating 12 minutes of musical insight for a film in which the music is such an important element!  This rocks!


AIR GUITAR TUTORIAL WITH BJORN TUROQUE & THE ROCKNESS MONSTER
Produced and Directed by Greg Carson
Edited by Michael Ruiz


This is a fluffy but fun segment in which Air Guitar champions The Rockness Monster and Bjorn Turoque explain the techniques and attitude behind serious air guitar.  Included in this 12 minute segment is The Ten Steps to Becoming an Air Guitar Champ, a handy tutorial for anyone looking to get into competitive air guitar.  This extra is capped off by performances by both champs, which oddly seem to have been set to different music than they originally performed to (we assume they couldn't get the rights to use the music).  This is handy for viewing their technique but it's hard to truly appreciate good air guitar when it's set to something else.  All in all an entertaining piece, though, much better if not taken too seriously.


HYSTERICAL PERSONAGES OF BILL AND TED
Produced and Directed by Greg Carson
Edited by Irving Ong


An interesting extra which chronologically (until Beethoven) goes through the many historical personages which Bill and Ted met in both movies.  Rare photographs of the actors in these roles are shown while a narrator offers what is actually very educational insight into each person's life.  Beethoven's biography is done in a different style, which you'll just have to see for yourself!  A further segment on Death is also included.  A shorter 8 minute version is also available for viewing (actually it's the same segment sped up, which is a bit annoying) but if you'd like to learn a little something and see some cool photos definitely check out the longer 15 minute version!


ONE SWEET AND SOUR CHINESE ADVENTURE TO GO
The premiere episode of the animated Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures


Okay, this is the extra which most fans are probably most interested in, seeing as the animated series has not been seen or released since it first aired.  The first thing one notices when putting on this segment is how clear and crisp it looks.  Indeed, the cartoon hasn't looked this good since it first ran on CBS on September 15, 1990.  Of course those of us who were even lucky enough to have recorded it from television back then have noticed a definite deterioration of our videotapes over the past 15 years!  For those who were not born then or never had a chance to see a complete episode this will be a real treat!  It makes us want a DVD set of the complete first series all the more (MGM/UA, are you listening??).


THE LINGUISTIC STYLINGS OF BILL AND TED
Produced and Directed by Greg Carson
Edited by Irving Ong


This short extra is a bit of a rehashing of the Most Excellent Phrasebook with a few humorous alterations.  Segments of the movies are played while the phrases are explained.  Cute!


FROM SCRIBBLE TO SCRIPT

This is a really excellent extra . . . Ed and Chris' original hand-written notes for the movie!  There are a good number of pages of Ed's scribbled yellow legal pad outline of the film the way it was originally conceived plus later revisions and some examples of the first typewritten version.  This allows fans the chance to read some of the concepts which were dropped as the film took shape, including the eventually discarded time van idea and the confrontations between Bill and Ted and the other San Dimas High School kids.  Years ago yours truly met with Ed Solomon and viewed these same notes . . . unfortunately at the time Ed didn't feel comfortable letting these notes out of his hands (quite understandably) so it's nice to see they are finally available for fans to see and enjoy!  The only downside . . . Ed's writing can be quite difficult to read!

It's obvious that Ed and Chris helped a lot with materials and information for this set, which is awesome.  Sadly none of Ed's home movie footage on the set of either movie seemed to be used . . . maybe another special release could unearth those missing treasures someday?


RADIO SPOTS

Includes 5 rare original radio commercial for Excellent Adventure set over photographs.  Very fun, as radio ads are hard to come by after the fact!

OUR RATING??
**As the box says . . . Most Excellent!**

Okay, so we don't get any missing scenes or commentary tracks, but we do get a lot of brand new excellent features well worth watching.  This set is really made for anyone who truly loves these movies and wants to know more about how they were made.  Fans looking to expand their Keanu Reeves collections or wishing for new interaction between Keanu and Alex will be disappointed, but Keanu fans should note there are a LOT of neat rare photographs within the interviews and extras, so it may be worth your money if you love Bill and Ted anyway).

Now I understand this box may contain Easter Eggs!  So far I have not found any but then I'm an idiot when it comes to finding these things so we're counting on you, the fans, to let us know if you find any hidden extras!!!  It will be interesting to see what else might turn up on these discs!!

    For more information visit MGM’s website for this title by clicking here.

Update: The Collection doesn't seem to be available for sale through MGM/UA any
more, but they have links to watch it on
Amazon.com, and you can also purchase it
through that company as well!