Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dark Side of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

My brain works in weird ways. Just the other day I was thinking about Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and realized there is something very bizarre about this film: all of the historical figures our titular characters picked up met nasty ends.

Check it out:
  • Napoleon: Died of stomach cancer (or possibly poisoned by arsenic) while exiled on St. Helena. (Age: 52)
  • Billy the Kid: Gunned down by the law. (Age: 21)
  • Socrates: Condemned to death and forced to poison himself. (Age: 71)
  • Freud: Euthanized with morphine after suffering from cancer of the jaw. (Age: 83, our oldest)
  • Genghis Khan: Unclear on how exactly he died, but either he was killed in battle, died from illness, fell from his horse or died from wounds sustained in hunting or battle. (Age 65)
  • Joan of Arc: Burned at the stake for heresy. (Age: 19, our youngest)
  • Abraham Lincoln: Assassinated by a Confederate sympathizer. (Age: 56)
  • Beethoven: Again unclear but depending on the source it was either alcoholic cirrhosis, syphilis, infectious hepatitis, lead poisoning, sarcoidosis, Whipple's disease or was accidentally poisoned by his doctors. (Age: 57)
Isn't it a little odd that the filmmakers picked such a cast of historical characters? Not a single one who died quietly in the night of old age after a long, successful life. With the exception of Socrates and Freud, most even died young by modern standards. The craziest thing is that even after everything they experienced while travelling through time they still went back.

Sure you could argue Bill and Ted were too ignorant of history to warn any of them, or that because no one else in the present really believed they were the real person they saw no reason to warn them either, but why not warn each other? Couldn't Abe have tapped Nappie on the shoulder and tell him why it is a bad idea to invade Russia during the winter? And why couldn't Freud jump in and talk about how Lincoln doesn't do well in theaters (disproved in 2012). Furthermore, wouldn't some of the characters have seen something of how their lives were going to turn out as Bill and Ted visited periods of time to pick up/drop off everyone?

They don't, however, learn anything at all about their personal futures. Time travel doesn't work that way! They would at the very least have accidentally stumbled on some aspect of their future. I mean...okay enough...its a comedy. Just let it go and stop ranting, Mitro.

Sorry for the nerd rant. Have a happy Friday, everybody!

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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