Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)

I was hoping to see Bill and Ted Face the Music in theaters.  I even went and rented Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Alas, theaters in my area are closed and I’m not paying $24.99 for on-demand, so I’m going to have to wait for the DVD release.  However, that’s no reason not to review Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

A few years have passed since the first installment and the Wyld Stallyns haven’t yet saved the world.  They are, however, entered into the San Dimas Battle of the Bands, which should start them on their way.  Enter Chuck De Nomolos, former gym teacher.  He doesn’t like the utopian future of 2691.  So, he steals the time machine from Rufus with the intent of killing Bill and Ted.  Just to rub it in, De Nomolos creates two robot doppelgangers to replace them.  The ghosts of Bill and Ted have to find a way to get back and still win the battle while repairing their relationships with their respective would-be-brides-to-be.

You might think that it would be difficult enough to win the Battle of the Bands, future or no future.  Coming back to life should be even harder.  They do end up escaping hell and besting  Death in several games.  (Traditionally, you only have to beat Death at one game to get your life back, but he’s kind of a sore loser.)

So, with Death’s help, Bill and Ted put together a team and win the battle.  In fact, De Nomolos’s intervention is exactly what they need to launch their careers and attain world fame.  So, we have a causal loop.  The future is saved and everyone has a most excellent life.

There are a lot of things about this movie that I’ve come to view differently over the years.  I had always assumed that Bill and Ted were really good at games.  They’re slackers, so they’d undoubtedly want to have as much fun as possible.  It never occurred to me that Death might have been bad at games.  Sure, he’s probably had to play those games before as part of a challenge, but it’s not his main function.

I also don’t recall noticing the causal loop.  There are a few jokes about time travel, like how the use of time machines tends to benefit the good guys.  They also use it to get more time to learn how to play since they’re still horrible musicians.

The one thing that got me was the name of the character Station.  It turns out that it was actually an artifact from a script revision.  There was a deleted scene from a police station that wasn’t properly deleted.  All that was left was the word Station, which became the two alien characters.  I spent the entire movie wondering if station was some sort of slang term from the 90s that I forgot about.  (Notice how no one uses bogus any more to refer to something unbelievable.)

It’s not a great movie.  For a sequel, it’s pretty good, though.  Like the first movie, there are parts that are there mostly to move the story along.  Bill and Ted can possess people because why not?  They get sent to Hell by a layperson condemning them because Hell is where they need to be to take things seriously.  They also get to deal with their own demons.

It’s not the same movie as the first, but I wouldn’t want it to be.  It does seem like a natural continuation of the first movie, which makes me want to see the third even more.  It’s not going to be for everyone, but I do find that this movie is a little better than the average movie from that era.  The pacing is full throttle and keeps your attention all the way through.  Here’s to hoping I can get the new movie on DVD quickly.


IMDb page


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