Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

I think, and I could be wrong, that Bogus Journey is not as well loved as Excellent Adventure. This is most likely due to the fact that it's much zanier than the original. I'll start with the premise and you'll easily see why.

DeNomolos lives in the 27th century and he really hates Bill & Ted and their philosophy on life. He's apparently also supersmart, because he creates evil robot copies of Bill & Ted to send them back to 1991, kill them off and take over their lives for them. They will help make DeNomolos the ruler of the world instead. They succeed in killing off B&T but that's ok, because after some stops as ghosts on Earth, in hell, and in heaven, B&T are brought back and with the aid of the Grim Reaper and an alien from Mars by the name of Station, they create good robot versions of themselves to beat the evil ones and prevent DeNomolos from succeeding. They also fulfill their destiny of becoming known world round and loved by all.

I know those are spoilers, but when it comes to comedy you don't really expect anything else, right?

Bill & Ted are still the doofuses we know and love from five years ago. They managed to make it out of high school but clearly didn't go to college and are still working a fast food job. They also have apparently not learned much guitar at all, though the princesses have managed to learn their instruments competently. They approach the various aspects of the afterlife with the same innocence and wonder as they did the past and time travel. The continuity also remains consistent with the previous film, as we now get to meet Colonel Oats, Missy is still attracted to much older men, and the guys once again play with the timeline and prepare things after they happen so that they can succeed. If you go looking for logic in this movie though, your head is going to hurt.

Death is probably, in my opinion, the best character in the movie. William Adler manages to play both creepy/ominous and downright silly. Don't fear the reaper, indeed.

The movie as a whole is overly silly and ridiculous, but I think that's a large part of its charm. I can understand why it might not be everyone's cup of tea though.

On to the nitpicks:
  • As DeNomolos reveals his plan in the beginning, this exchange occurs:

    Rufus: You won't get away with it.
    DeNomolos: Time will tell.
    Rufus: Time has told.

    Because all this stuff already happened to Bill & Ted, Rufus already knows DeNomolos' plans and how he'll fail. He probably already knows his part in it too. The evil robot B&T use the term "station" long before we ever meet the alien(s), and no one in the future could possibly know about Station unless B&T died, retrieved it/them from heaven, then brought them back to earth. Bill & Ted would not have rocketed to fame so quickly if DeNomolos had not tuned every TV in the world to see the Battle of the Bands. This is the same kind of time travel reasoning so prevalent in the Terminator series.. attempts in the future to change the past only guarantee that the future will happen. You would think in a way the best thing DeNomolos could do would be to not try at all. But then of course we wouldn't have a movie.
  • Fashion really jumps forward fast in the future. The outfits at Bill & Ted University are nothing like the shiny stuff they wore in 2688.
  • They guess B3 then J7, which manages to sink Death's battleship. That means they had already hit that ship before and yet didn't keep guessing until he said "you've sunk my ____". They shouldn't be able to win like that. Also, everyone knows you don't play Clue two player, as you either give out all the cards and win too easily, or put some cards aside and have to check to see who won sometimes as early as the first guess.
  • Rufus arrives in the present long before Evil B&T do, despite hitching a ride with them.
  • How did they manage to time the rope breaks for the sandbag and cage? How could they slip the key in DeNomolos' pocket? How could they make a gun appear in his hand??

And now for trivia:
  • The original title of the movie was "Bill & Ted Go to Hell." I think it was a wise choice to change it.
  • The Star Trek episode Bill & Ted watch after being dumped is "Arena." They show it because the cliff the guys will shortly be shoved off of is the same location.
  • The spell Missy chants is "Ed and Chris will rule the world" backwards. The writers, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon make their cameo appearance in the same scene, once again being credited as stupid and ugly.
  • Granny S Preston Esquire is played by Alex Winter himself.
  • The air guitar and score for the final show down between the various Bill & Teds is played by Steve Vai.
  • The English father is also William Adler, sans makeup and bald cap.
  • Both Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves were bass players, which explains why they can't fake chords to save their life. Keanu does a slightly better job.

By the way, in this age of imdb and wikipedia, I realize it would be really easy to just copy/paste things from over there. But everything I list I figured out before the internet existed on my own. No cheating allowed on this blog.

The Soundtrack

Honestly, beyond the Steve Vai moments, there isn't a whole lot to say. I have a strong memory of almost purchasing the cassette of this in 1991 and ultimately putting it back on the shelf. The only songs that strongly play into the movie are "Battle Stations" by Winger when Station is building the good robots, and "God Gave Rock N Roll To You II" by KISS which Wyld Stallyns play at the end. The rest of the soundtrack is full of bands that you at least know the name of, like Slaughter, Megadeth, Primus, and Faith No More, but they're not exactly the most memorable of songs. This was slightly before bands made it a habit to put exclusive tracks on soundtracks, so I'm willing to bet you can find them all elsewhere if you're a fan.

Next up: Both the novel and graphic novel adaptations of this movie.

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