Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
|Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey|
Promotional one-sheet poster.
|Directed by||Peter Hewitt|
|Produced by||Scott Kroopf|
|Written by||Christopher Matheson
|Music by||David Newman|
|Editing by||David Finfer|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Release date(s)||July 19, 1991|
|Running time||93 min.|
|Box office||$38,037,513 (domestic)|
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey is a 1991 American science fiction comedy film, and the directing debut of Peter Hewitt. It is the second film in the Bill & Ted franchise, and a sequel to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and George Carlin reprise their respective roles. The film's original working title was Bill & Ted Go To Hell and the film's soundtrack featured the song Go To Hell by Megadeth, which Dave Mustaine wrote for the film.
The film opens in the utopian future that results from the music of Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves). Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland), who detests this society, steals one of the time-traveling phone booths with the aid of two robots fashioned after Bill and Ted, and travels to the late 20th century, with the intent to prevent Bill and Ted from winning the San Dimas Battle of the Bands. Rufus (George Carlin) attempts to stop De Nomolos but becomes lost in the circuits of time.
In the present, Wyld Stallyns is preparing for the contest; though Bill and Ted's current fiancées and former 15th-century princesses Elizabeth (Annette Azcuy) and Joanna (Sarah Trigger) have become skilled musicians, Bill and Ted are still inept. Despite this, the organizer Ms. Wardroe (Pam Grier) assures them a slot in the contest as the final act. Bill's stepmother, Missy (Amy Stock-Poynton), divorces his father, in favor of Ted's, who still threatens Ted to military school, should they fail the Battle of the Bands. De Nomolos arrives and has the robots replace Bill and Ted, killing them by throwing the two over the side of a cliff at Vasquez Rocks. The robots behave rudely to the princesses and work to ruin the duo's fame.
Bill and Ted's souls are met by Death (William Sadler) who challenges them in a game for their souls. Bill and Ted escape after giving Death a "melvin". They attempt to alert their families but their ethereal forms prove difficult, and at one point, are cast down into Hell at a séance held by Missy. In Hell, they are tormented by Satan (voiced by Frank Welker), made to face their own fears, and realize their only escape is to take Death's offer. Taken to Death's chambers, the spirit gives them the option of what game to play. Bill and Ted, to Death's dismay, select modern games like Battleship, Clue, and Twister, easily beating Death. Death admits defeat and willingly becomes their servant. Bill and Ted recognize they need to locate the smartest person in the universe to help build robots to counter De Nomolos' evil robots. Death escorts the two to Heaven, and with God's help, are directed to an alien named Station who has the ability to split into two identical twins, and readily offers to help Bill and Ted.
Death brings them back to the mortal world, where it is the night of the Battle of the Bands. Bill and Ted take Station to a hardware store, and then race in their van back to the concert while Station constructs good robots. Just as the evil robots take the stage, Bill and Ted arrive, and Station's robots easily defeat the evil ones. De Nomolos appears in the time machine, ready to defeat Bill and Ted himself, and overrides the broadcasting equipment to send the video footage of this to everyone on the planet. The two recognize they can later go back in time to arrange events for De Nomolos to trap in the present, aided by Death and Station; though De Nomolos is able to do the same, Bill and Ted gain the upper hand, and De Nomolos is taken away by the police. Ms. Wardroe reveals herself to be a disguised Rufus, having assured Bill and Ted's spot in the concert, and urges them to play.
As Bill and Ted reunite with their fiancées, they realize they are terrible musicians, and the four use the time machine; though they return immediately, "an intense 16 months of guitar training plus a two week honeymoon" have passed for them, they have married the princesses and each is raising a young infant. They begin to perform a stunning rock ballad, joined by Death, Station, and the good robots. The worldwide broadcast set by De Nomolos continues, and Wyld Stallyns' music is played across the globe, creating harmony. During the end credits, fictional newspaper and magazine articles describe the worldwide impact of the Stallyns' music towards the Utopian future.
- Alex Winter as William "Bill" S. Preston, Esq./Evil Bill/Granny S. Preston, Esq.
- Keanu Reeves as Theodore "Ted" Logan/Evil Ted
- William Sadler as Death (The Grim Reaper)/Englishman
- Joss Ackland as Chuck De Nomolos
- George Carlin as Rufus
- Pam Grier as Ms. Wardroe
- Annette Azcuy as Elizabeth
- Sarah Trigger as Joanna
- Hal Landon Jr. as Captain Logan
- Amy Stock-Poynton as Missy
- Ed Gale, Arturo Gil, and Tom Allard as Station
- Neil Ross as Station Twin #2 (voice)
- Frank Welker as the voices of Satan, The Easter Bunny and Station
The song Bill & Ted play for the Battle of the bands is "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" by Kiss even though they appear similar in appearance to Dusty Hill & Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.
When Bill and Ted are asked "What is the meaning of life?" they reply with the lyrics from "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison.
Critical reception to the movie was mixed. As of July 2011, Bogus Journey has only a 56% positive rating from critics and a 59% positive rating from audiences on Rottentomatoes.com (compared to a 82% positive rating from critics and a 70% positive rating from audiences on the first film). Not every critic disliked it, however. Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of a possible 4 stars, noting, "It's the kind of movie where you start out snickering in spite of yourself, and end up actually admiring the originality that went into creating this hallucinatory slapstick." (Ebert did not see or review the first film.) Dave Kehr, then of the Chicago Tribune, also gave the film 3 stars, noting how unusual it was for an Ingmar Bergman parody to show up in a teen comedy, and referring to the film as a "genuine pleasure." Gene Siskel, also of the Tribune, gave the film only 2½ stars, but did believe the second film to be better than the first. Leonard Maltin also gave Bogus Journey 2½ stars, a half-star more than he gave to Excellent Adventure.
Alternate endings and missing scenes 
- In both the novel and the comic, De Nomolos ends up being killed by the exploding heads of the Evil Bill and Ted. He ends up in hell, where he spends all eternity with the evil Bill and Ted.
- There is also at least one scene which appears in the promotional trailer for the movie, as well as the novel and graphic novel. When Bill and Ted are in Hell they initially have to break rocks. During the scene, a demon pulls a rat out of its mouth, at which point Ted exclaims that he knew a guy who "got one of those in a bucket of chicken once."
- During this scene portrayed in Vai's "Reaper" the following exchange occurs:
- "Dude, I totally broke a rock!"
- "Y'know, I kinda like this!"
- An alternate scene where evil Bill and Ted reveal to Joanna and Elizabeth their secret by unzipping their faces and torso and introduce that Evil Bill is actually Evil Ted and vice versa. (In the theatrical version of the movie, there is an extra set of Bill and Ted clothes in the corner while the evil Wyld Stallyns are carrying off Joanna and Elizabeth. These clothes are the unzipped costumes.)
- Another such scene has the Evil Bill and Ted using a set of canisters from their chests to produce real-world versions of the monsters from Bill and Ted's personal Hells (the Easter Rabbit, Granny S. Preston Esq. and Colonel Oats) and prevent them from getting to the concert. These three chase Bill, Ted, the Reaper and Station down just after they collect the parts for the Good Robot Usses, and Bill and Ted realize that they have to face their fears to defeat them. In the comic book version, Bill finally kisses his grandmother, Ted phones his little brother and confesses to stealing the candy, and the pair manage to bring out Oats' sensitive side, causing each of them to vanish. In the filmed version, the pair simply refuse to show their fear, which causes the monsters to shrink into nothingness. Although this scene never takes place in the finished film, it is foreshadowed by the evil robots (they say "Good luck getting to the concert, losers!" even though they make no effort to stop them).
- Finally, in the original version of the climax, Evil Bill and Ted repeatedly kill Bill and Ted after the Good Robot Usses run off. Bill and Ted force the Reaper to bring them back each time, citing the number of games they previously won. Part of this scene (Bill and Ted being flung across the stage) made it into the theatrical trailer.
- One scene did manage to be restored for the 1996 TBS television broadcast and currently for Spike TV broadcasts (as of June 2007). This was a light-hearted moment that occurs as soon as Station starts to work on "the good robot Bill and Ted" while they were on their way to the Battle of The Bands. Death switches seats with Ted and confronts Bill with the belief that he is unappreciated. Bill tries to pep talk Death, but Death is not buying it. Bill offers him a stick of gum. Death puts the gum in his mouth, wrapper and all, and immediately spits it out, replying "I don't like gum". As of this writing, this is the only deleted scene to be shown in full.
Marvel Comics adaptation 
To coincide with the release of the movie, Marvel Comics released a one-shot comic book adaptation of the movie, hiring Evan Dorkin to adapt the screenplay and pencil the art. Like Archie Goodwin's adaptation of the first Star Wars film, Dorkin worked from the original script, which included many of the deleted scenes, and portrayed Death as the archetypal skeletal figure. Due to the popularity of the comic, Marvel commissioned a spin-off series, Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book, which kept the talents of Dorkin, DeStefano and Severin. The series ran for 12 issues, featuring original stories. The first arc features negative results from Death's decision to take a vacation.
- One of the bands competing in the Battle of the Bands was real-life California band Primus, led by Les Claypool, performing "Tommy the Cat" from their then-current album Sailing the Seas of Cheese. In addition to Primus, "Big" Jim Martin of the band Faith No More also has a cameo as a time traveling lecturer from the past addressed as "Sir James Martin". There was also a brief appearance by future Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson.
- William Sadler, who plays Death, can also be seen as the stereotypical British father reacting ("My word...") to De Nomolos on television. Additionally, Sadler reprised his role as Death (including the Ingmar Bergman inspired makeup and accent) in the anthology horror series Tales From the Crypt during the Crypt-Keeper bookend sequences for the episode "The Assassin." Sadler had previously appeared in the series' first episode "The Man Who Was Death", starred in "Demon Knight" and had a cameo in the film Bordello of Blood as The Mummy.
- Alex Winter himself plays "Granny S. Preston, Esq." (makeup effects by Kevin Yagher).
- Director Peter Hewitt makes a cameo as the scruffy-looking smoker in Builders' Emporium to whom Death mumbles, "See you real soon." Writers Ed Solomon (with glasses) and Chris Matheson (in white shirt) appear as New Agers at Missy's seance. Ed is credited as 'Stupid' seance member, and Chris is credited as 'Ugly' seance member. They are given similar credits in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Film references 
- The concept of Bill and Ted attempting to win back their lives by challenging Death to a game is a reference to the famous Ingmar Bergman film The Seventh Seal, in which a knight plays chess with the Grim Reaper in an attempt to save his life.
- In the scene where Bill and Ted are addressing God, there are two statues at the base of the staircase. One is of Michael Powell and the other is of David Niven, a homage to Powell and Pressburger's 1946 afterlife classic A Matter of Life and Death (known in the US as Stairway to Heaven). The vast white expanse of stairs is also a visual homage to the memorable stairway in this film.
- The scene of Bill and Ted's death takes place at the often filmed Vasquez Rocks park in Agua Dulce, California, which can also be glimpsed in "Arena", the Star Trek episode they watch on TV right before the evil androids appear. A shot of Bill and Ted being herded up a rock formation by their evil doubles directly mirrors a scene from the episode.
- "You can be a king or a street sweeper but everyone dances with the grim reaper", a quote paraphrased from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, was the final statement of convicted murderer Robert Alton Harris, who died in California's gas chamber April 21, 1992.
In 2010, Reeves indicated that Matheson and Solomon were working on a script for a third film, confirming in April 2011 that a draft was complete. Winter said in March 2012 that he and Reeves both like the finished script, which revisits the two characters after the changes of the past twenty years. Despite the a script being finished and satisfied by both parties, no specific dates have been named regarding a filming project.
- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey @ boxofficemojo.com
- Wilmington, Michael (1991-07-19). "Bill & Ted's Excellent Sequel". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Bernstein, Sharon (1991-07-27). "'Bill & Ted's' Grim Reaper Is a Vegetarian and Songwriter". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey". Washington Post. 1991-07-26. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- Maslin, Janet (1991-07-19). "Review/Film; Bill and Ted Go About Co-opting Father Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Chicago Tribune, Jul. 19, 1991
- Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's 1998 Movie & Video Guide. New York: Signet Books, 1997, p. 118.
- "Reeve talks new 'Bill and Ted' adventure".
- "'Bill & Ted 3' screenplay actually exists, according to Bill".
- "'Bill & Ted' Sequel: 'There Probably Will Be Another One'". 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- BillAndTed.org, official fansite
- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey at the Internet Movie Database
- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey at AllRovi
- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey at Rotten Tomatoes