Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Review
By Keith Breese
Alex Winter, where art thou dude? At a time when even Pauley Shore can make a Weasel-free comeback, you are still wandering in the wilderness. For those who clocked out after Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey I have only one word, Freaked. Can you believe that Ortiz the Dog boy is now saving the world on a yearly basis? Bogus, dude.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was a tremendous hit in 1989 and a sequel was immediately in the works. Where the first film took our stoner heroes through time, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey upped the ante and took them to hell. Literally, the original title of the film was Bill & Ted Go to Hell. The plot is awash in weird humor and outlandish gags as Bill and Ted attempt to defeat two evil robotic versions of themselves, avoid death, save history, and otherwise remain cool.
The film opens in a far future where Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are revered as icons, mythic rock god-men. Unfortunately for them, they're also dead. A sinister curmudgeon from the future, De Nomolos (Joss Ackland), sends two evil robotic versions of Bill and Ted to San Dimas circa 1991 to change to future. Bill and Ted are indeed killed and wind up in hell, a sequence that provides several of the film's most humorous moments. The only way to get back to Earth is to challenge the Grim Reaper. When the Grim Reaper is defeated at Battleship, Twister, and Clue, Bill and Ted make their way to Heaven and plan a "most triumphant" comeback.
Bogus Journey is a rare example of a sequel that outperforms its predecessor. Where Excellent Adventure was funny, Bogus Journey is Laff Out Loud hilarious. Bogus Journey has a more tightly constructed script, nearly all the jokes work, and the bizarre humor is pushed to near hallucinatory limits - always a plus. Winter and Reeves reprise the roles that made them famous and both seem to be having the ride of their lives. Who wouldn't? With a budget at over $20 million, writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson put to film just about anything they could imagine. (A giant alien with an enormous butt crack? No problem!) The film's best performance is by William Sadler (Die Hard 2 and the Seagal vehicle Hard To Kill). Stepping out of Bergman's Seventh Seal, Sadler's Grim Reaper is not your typical wraith. He's wry and clever, a comic foil as engaging as Bill or Ted.
Part three never materialized, perhaps Americans had just had enough of the antics of the heirs to Jeff Spicoli's throne or maybe Keanu got too pricey. Bill and Ted's adventures will long be remembered by the now balding, pot-bellied guys who were hormonal teens in the late eighties and early nineties. For those of you who still hum a Wyld Stallyns tune, this reviews for you. Now if only Alex Winter would make that big comeback.
The new "Most Excellent Collection" box set includes the original and the sequel, plus an extra disc of bonus material, including a making-of documentary, an interview with Steve Vai(!?), radio ads, and all manner of most excellent add-ons.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 19th July 1991
Distributed by: Orion Pictures Corp.
Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Orion Pictures, Nelson Entertainment
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 16
Cast & Crew
Starring: Keanu Reeves as Ted Logan, Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, George Carlin as Rufus, William Sadler as Grim Reaper, Joss Ackland as De Nomolos, Pam Grier as Ms. Wardroe, Amy Stock-Poynton as Missy, Jim Martin as Sir James Martin, Hal Landon Jr. as Captain Logan, Annette Azcuy as Elizabeth, Sarah Trigger as Joanna, Chelcie Ross as Colonel Oats, Taj Mahal as Gatekeeper, Robert Noble as Bach, Eleni Kelakos as Ria Paschelle, Roy Brocksmith as Deputy James, J. Patrick McNamara as Mr. Preston, Dana Stevens as 1st Seance Member, Carol Rosenthal as 3rd Seance Member, Chris Matheson as 'Ugly' Seance Member, Brendan Ryan as Young Ted, William Thorne as Young Bill, Ed Gale as Station, Arturo Gil as Station, Tom Allard as Big Station, Terry Finn as Heavenly Greeter, John Ehrin as Albert Einstein, Don Forney as Benjamin Franklin, Michael Chambers as Good Robot Bill (as Michael 'Shrimp' Chambers), Bruno Falcon as Good Robot Ted (as Bruno 'Taco' Falcon), Ed Cambridge as George Washington Carver, Tad Horino as Confucius, William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius Kirk (archive footage)