Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Rating PG
Length 1h 33
Release 3.1.1992
Director Peter Hewitt
About Two robots Evil Bill and Evil Ted are sent by Chuck De Nomolos to the 20th century where they try to stop their doppelgangers Bill and Ted respectively from winning a band competition.

First Thoughts

I saw Bogus Journey before I saw Excellent Adventure, I think. I loved this film; it was funny, a little bit scary and Station totally suckered me in with that Ewok, but not, vibe.
It was one of the first films that I could embody the Captain America meme and “get that reference”. Yes, the film makes it obvious by having the Star Trek episode play not long before we’re placed at the scene but, come on, I was 8 when I first saw this movie.
It was bought for my Dad, on VHS, for Christmas. I always wondered if dad had seen the first or even knew of its existence upon opening this VHS. Either way, dad must have liked it because it became staple viewing in the Hunter household.

The Good

  • It is not a rehash of the first movie. It offers us something completely different from the time travelling, grade-saving, adventure. In fact, outside of the set up and final act, the phonebooth from the original doesn’t feature.
  • The effects, on the most part, still stand up. Possibly owing to the use of physical over computer generated. Even the way they show us Bill and Ted have died was done through make-up and costume. Genius.
  • The franchise takes on the afterlife and they do a good job. Heaven, Hell and even Purgatory are represented. Those personal hells Bill and Ted are meant to choose from? They were a tad scary growing up and I was downright petrified this time. There’s something so universal about the three memories we see.
    Visually, they’re quite stunning. The use of infinity and asymmetry works in these vision. Not to mention Alex Winter playing Grandma. The detail in that could trigger nightmares for many a audience members.
  • This film, despite the reviews, is not only clever but its sincere with its references. While some call this outing a parody, there’s too much passion, skill and detail put into the story and the Easter Eggs throughout the narrative. Playing games with Death to earn their freedom? Yes, okay it is not the high brow Chess of the Seventh Seal, but unless you’ve seen it, or you’re told, there’s no way to get that reference. Plus, it is Bill and Ted. What else are they going to offer up as a game suggestion.
    My favourite reference is the call back to one of my favourite films; A Matter of Life and Death. The basic concept of Heaven and the stairs to God in particular will be familiar to anyone who has seen the David Niven wartime classic.
  • Grim Reaper and Station are two most excellent additions to the group. William Sadler is barely recognisable as the Reaper and the addition of the Martians made me really happy. They still do.
  • The final song that leads the film into the credits. I love that song, I had that song on my first digital walk-man. It is the perfect up beat to end a movie.

The Bad

  • There’s not enough George Carlin. That dude as Rufus is amazing and while his absence did make sense plot wise, and the reveal towards the end was handled well, I missed having his dry wit on the screen.

The Ugly

  • The use of the slur “fag” multiple times, particularly in response to the Good Bill and Ted telling the Evil Usses that they love them. Urg, why? I’m not saying it needs to be censored, I am just acknowledging that it completely sucks that it was acceptable and it really hasn’t aged well.

Final Thoughts

Not only is this an excellent offering for a franchise, it also works well as a stand alone movie. It’s a film I will return to many times over the years and enjoy every single time.

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