Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey [retro review]

“Ted, don’t fear the Reaper!”

The Scoop: 1991 PG, directed by Peter Hewitt and starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and William Sadler

Tagline: It’s a trip

Summary Capsule: Neither heaven nor hell nor intense stupidity will stop the San Dimas duo.

Justin’s Rating: I sunk your battleship!

Justin’s Review: Bill and Ted truly belong in the eighties; their lingo, their colors, and their gratuitous use of the letter “Y” instead of “I” simply yell 1988. But time has a way of slipping forward (unless, of course, you have a converted phone booth or a DeLorean), and Bill and Ted have been brought into the future… the nineties. It’s a little scary and perhaps sad, but you must realize that this movie accomplishes something that even the most ardant of Bill and Ted haters have to love.

Evil robots from the future kill the ditzy duo. And then send them to Hell.

As big of a fan I am of the original Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, this sequel is a mixed bag of Lucky Charms. Sure, you have the good marshmallows, the four-leaf clover of Death, the lucky horseshoe of Faith No More. But with all those you’re doomed to the diamond whinings of Keanu Reeves, the half-moons of bad plotting, and the rabbit feet of little time travel. I personally think they should have constructed a sequel entirely around the Joan of Arc from the original. Which, in a roundabout way, kind of nails why Bogus Journey just isn’t that good: the supporting cast from the past of the original isn’t present to give the film much personality.

Bill (a past-his-prime Alex Winters) and Ted (Reeves) spend the first chunk of the film wandering around in the present, both before and after they’re killed. There’s some bad guy from the future who makes it his mission to stop the San Dimos twosome from winning the battle of the bands so that the world doesn’t build a society that revolves around their rock stylings and moon boots. Or something. There’s a lot of rehashed jokes from the original and plenty of innovative set designs (particularly the Hell sets, which seem to be Tim Burton knock-offs).

Boorish as our two lead characters are, the film does pick up when they team up with the Grim Reaper himself. Bill and Ted challenge Death in order to escape from Hell, and a classic sequence ensues as they play Battleship, Clue, electronic football, and Twister. Death is wonderfully exasperated in having to deal with the morons, and he ranks as a Grim Reaper right up there with the one in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.  By the way, can anyone tell me what kind of accent, exactly, that Death sports? German? British? Vulcan?

It’s always a true sign of a film series that’s gone downhill when they introduce and start relying upon Muppets. There’s an inexplicable pair of Muppet scientists (alas, not Bunsen and Beaker) who tag along for the last half, and they are NO Joan of Arc, believe me. All they do is mumble and laugh, constantly making me think we just crossed over to the Dark Crystal (coming soon to a mutant review near you). Muppets? Who authorized THAT plot twist?

Word was, in 1996 they considered making a Bill and Ted part three, called Bill and Ted’s Explosive Diarrhea. Due to his busy film schedule, Keanu Reeves would have been replaced as Ted by Samuel L. Jackson. Due to no film studios ever offering him another part, Alex Winters was set to return as Bill. The new sequel claimed to use a high tech toilet from the future to wisk them away to magical new dimensions, including one composed entirely out of urinal cakes.

Emascuating Death

Intermission!

  • Futuristic oversized neon wear… ugh
  • Tons of Pepsi product placement
  • Recitation of the same proposal poem
  • Aim for the cat!
  • Evil Bill and Ted land in front of the Circle K
  • Faith No More! This film rocks just for bringing in this singer!
  • William Sadler (“Death”), also plays a bit role as an Englishman when we see various spots around the world when the Battle of the Bands is shown.
  • The mountain to which Bill & Ted are brought to be killed by the evil robots is the same as the mountain Captain Kirk climbs in a episode of “Star Trek” that Bill & Ted are watching earlier in their apartment.
  • The Terminator view the robots have
  • What a Melvin is
  • The possessed cops scene is hysterical
  • President Chester A. Arthur? What kind of wussy seance is this?
  • Bill and Ted as kids
  • The games they play against Death include Battleship, Clue, Twister, and Electronic Football
  • Quoting Poison! Hahaha!
  • Bill & Ted playing a game with Death to win back their lives is an homage to the classic Ingmar Bergman film, The Seventh Seal.
  • The original title of this film was “Bill and Ted go to Hell” but was changed for obvious reasons.

Groovy Quotes

Grim Reaper: Don’t overlook my butt, I work out all the time. And reaping burns a lot of calories.

Bill: Ted, don’t fear the Reaper!
Grim Reaper: I heard that!

Evil Ted: Aim for the cat, dude! Aim for a cat!

Evil Bill: Not bad…
Evil Ted: Yeah. Let’s make it bad.

Grim Reaper: Um, best two out of three.
Bill and Ted: No way!
Grim Reaper: Yes way.

Grim Reaper: Uh, best three out of five!
Ted: I don’t believe this guy!

Grim Reaper: [rapping] You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you’ll dance with the reaper.

Bill: Best of seven?
Grim Reaper: DAMN RIGHT!

Bill: Ted, it’s the Grim Reaper!
Ted: Oh, how’s it hangin’ Death?

Ted: I can’t believe we just melvin’d Death!

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6 Comments

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