FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” stars Keanu Reeves (Constantine , 47 Ronin ), Alex Winter (Medium Rare, Rosalie Goes Shopping), William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist ), Joss Ackland (The Hunt, Lethal Weapon 2), Pam Grier (Jackie Brown, Above the Law), George Carlin (Scary Movie 3, Cars ), Amy Stoch (The Perfect Nanny, Amber Rose), Hal Landon Jr. (Speakeasy, Eraserhead), Annette Azcuy (Awake to Danger [TV Movie], Bad Guys [TV Movie]), Sarah Trigger (Deadfall, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead), and Chelcie Ross (Major League, Hoosiers). It is directed by Peter Hewitt (Thunderpants, Garfield ) and written by Chris Matheson (Mr. Wrong, The Wise Ones) and Ed Solomon (Super Mario Bros., Charlie’s Angels ). Evil clone robots of Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) are sent from the future to kill our favorite dudes in order to change the course of time. It’ll take everything they’ve got, including Death (Sadler) himself, for our Bill and Ted to defeat their foes and win the Battle of the Bands that will define their rocker careers.
This is a most bogus journey indeed. Our favorite Bill and Ted face Death? What’s the deal man? Crazy stuff my friend, crazy stuff. If you thought the first outing was… well, out there, you haven’t seen their “Bogus Journey.” With a heavy influence of death and the afterlife, this sequel concludes the storyline as to how Bill and Ted became the great heroes of the future, while giving a little more insight as to who they are as people. The humor is the same, as are our lovable characters. Reeves and Winter do not disappoint, resuming their famous roles with ease. Their chemistry has proven to work in the predecessor, and still holds up now. There’s no separating Bill and Ted. As for the story itself, it is something else. I knew Death was in it, but I never knew how much time the writers would spend on putting our lead characters through the his ringer. Really, this whole film is about Bill and Ted trying to come back to life in order to defeat their robot foes. An hour and fifteen minutes are devoted to the journey, with the last ten giving way to the conclusion. It’s a fairly quick procedure, leaving for a rather disappointing/hastened victory. Sure, there are mini victories Bill and Ted have throughout this adventure, but the climactic battle that the audience is promised at the end really fizzles out quick. Honestly, I laughed at how short-lived the battle was. Did I expect anything more from a movie like this though? I guess not. I didn’t even know what this one would entail, and the process of discovering what it was all about left me in doubt throughout the whole viewing experience. By the halfway point, I thought to myself “wait, are they going to be dead this entire film?” Matheson and Solomon, the writers, clearly wanted a different tale. Bill and Ted already traveled in time, so why not mix up the journey? For the most part, I was intrigued. We were shown what it’s like to be a ghost, heaven, and hell (according to the creativity of the writers, that is). There were parts I laughed at, and designs of these settings that I was fascinated in; primarily, the color scheme. Some scenes in this film are dictated by its use of color, whether it be in lighting, clothing, or the set itself. One of my favorite sequences in this is when Bill and Ted are shown their different versions of hell. Bill’s is placed in a blue color scheme, while Ted’s is magenta. For a lowbrow comedy such as this, it’s a shocker that time was actually put into the aesthetic of the movie (at least on this kind of artsy level). We surely didn’t get this treatment in the first outing, and I commend the filmmakers for mixing it up this go-around. Granted, it’s not like “Bogus Journey” is any better than “Excellent Adventure.” I laughed just about the same amount of times, as well as given a similar number of eyerolls. It’s a stupid movie, much like the one before it, and takes mindless enthusiasm to really enjoy. I’m more than happy to give this, though I will say that “Bogus Journey” can waver from time to time. I found myself checking the clock on a few occasions, and I believe that boils down to the lack of moralistic value and repetitive story arcs. In “Excellent Adventure,” Bill and Ted actually learned a historical lesson, and pushed their brains to actually ace an assignment. In this picture, they mainly just want to stop Evil Bill and Ted, and when they do they try to shoehorn some sort of theme in the ending that wasn’t really evoked throughout the course of the journey. As for the repetitiveness, it’s just that. The whole movie is Evil Bill and Ted destroying things, and Good Bill and Ted saying “we have to get back to save the princesses.” Both of the original “Bill & Ted” features are simple in nature, but you can clearly tell that the first film has a leg up over its sequel. Not a big advantage, mind you. “Bogus Journey” is enjoyable in its own rite, and has enough cool sequences (including a killer jam session at the end) to keep you engaged. Also, the inclusion of Death, played wonderfully by William Sadler, is genius. He made a great companion to our heroes. Overall, what you expect is what you’ll get. For me, I didn’t hold it to high regard going in, and I wasn’t left disappointed (aside a rather lackluster final battle). The filmmakers managed to surprise and pull a few laughs from me. For something like a “Bill & Ted” film, I’d say it’s a job well done. FINAL SCORE: 69%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: