Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Favorite Films

Directed by Peter Hewitt

Written by Chris Matheson & Ed Solomon

Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Joss Ackland, Annette Azcuy, Sarah Trigger, Pam Grier, Hal Landon Jr., Amy Stock-Poynton, Chelcie Ross, Roy Brocksmith, & George Carlin as Rufus

Release Date: July 19, 1991

Running Time: 1h 33min

Rating: PG

[Possible spoilers ahead, but this movie is almost 30 years old as of the writing of this review, so I doubt I’m spoiling a whole lot.]

A totally heinous future dude named Chuck De Nomolos (Ackland) isn’t happy with the utopian society, and wants to destroy it. Bogus! So he plans to make sure the Great Ones, that is Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Reeves), frontmen to the band Wyld Stallyns, never bring about universal peace through their totally excellent music. He and an army of goons infiltrate Bill & Ted University, disrupting a class being taught by the most righteous Rufus (Carlin). He sends two evil robot duplicates (also played by Winter and Reeves) back in time to kill off the main dudes and ruin their performance at the San Dimas Battle of the Bands! Most non-triumphant!

Meanwhile, our two awesome heroes are auditioning for said Battle of the Bands, which the organizer of the event, Ms. Wardroe (Grier), is most unimpressed. Still she takes pity on the dudes, allowing them to be the last act of the show. Excellent! They then throw a party for their medieval princess babe girlfriends (and only band members that can play decently), Elizabeth (Azcury) and Joana (Trigger), where they propose marriage. And they totally say yes! Most triumphant!

The two evil robot dudes show up and go about the totally heinous plan of killing Bill and Ted. First they make them think that the princess babes have dumped them, making them bummed out. Bogus! Then they pretend to be them from the future, there to help them out. Heinous! Finally, they take them out into the desert where they totally kill them by tossing them off of Vasquez Rocks! Most non-triumphant!

The two hero dudes are greeted by the Grim Reaper (Sadler), who says they can regain their lives if they can beat him at a contest, but losing will mean they remain in the afterlife forever, and he has never lost. Not so confident in their ability to win (and wanting to keep their fiancées safe), they “Melvin” Death and head back to San Dimas. [For those unfamiliar (which included myself at first), a Melvin is a variation on the wedgie, were instead of pulling someone’s underwear from the back, you pull from the front.] They witness their evil robot selves making a total mess of their lives, including their relationship with the princess babe fiancés! Robotic dickweeds! So now they try to find help.

They first attempt to posses Ted’s police captain dad (Landon) and his deputy (Brocksmith), to get help, but are met with confusion by their fellow officer dudes. This proves most ineffective! So they then see Missy (Stock-Poynton; who was once Bill’s stepmom, but now she’s Ted’s stepmom!) holding a seance with some buddies. They try to communicate with them, but Missy thinks they’re evil spirits, and uses a chant to have them banished to Hell! Most heinous!

In Hell, our totally awesome heroes encounter the Dark Lord himself, and are then forced to encounter some of their most heinous fears! This includes an encounter with Colonel Oates (Ross) the dude in charge of the military school in Alaska that Captain Logan wanted to send his son to. Splitting up, they encounter different fears from the past. Young Ted sees a horrific Easter Bunny chastising him for stealing candy from his little brother, while Young Bill goes to the birthday party of Granny S. Preston, Esq. (also Winter in heavy old lady makeup) who wants a kiss!

Wanting to get the hell out of Hell, they decide to face off with Death in a game of their choosing (Battleship). Turns out Death is a sore loser, and doesn’t give up so easily and keeps forcing them to play more games (Clue, Electric Football, and Twister). But he finally gives him, and now must help them in their quest to save their Princess fiancées.

They travel to Heaven, talk to God, meet a duo of super intelligent aliens called Station, who makes some Good Robot Uses to fight the Evil Robot Uses, and they totally win! But then De Nomolos shows up, tries to defeat our heroes, but he totally loses because there’s no way the heroes can be beaten! Death even “Melvins” the main bad dude! Most triumphant!

Ms. Wardroe turns out to be Rufus all along! Woah! After all, who else would’ve let them play in the show? Bill and Ted do a little traveling through time with the Princess Babes to get better at guitar, plus have a honeymoon, and they even become parents! Excellent! They give a totally awesome speech and then totally rock out!

Made on a larger budget of $20 million, the movie was a mild success, earning $38 million at the box office. Reviews were mixed, but like it’s predecessor has gained a substantial cult following over the years. Marvel released a one-shot comic book adaptation of the film, using material based on earlier drafts of the film. This proved popular enough to spawn a 12 issue spin-off series, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book. For years a third movie was talked about, but it would be many years till we would finally get Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020).

I totally love this movie! It may not be considered as good as Excellent Adventure, but it’s still so much fun! Once again, Reeves and Winter have most fantastic chemistry, plus they’re a lot of fun in the dual role of the Evil Robot Uses. It doesn’t just recycle the plot of the first movie (like many sequels do), it does its own unique thing, and the Hell and Heaven scenes have some most unique production design. Plus there’s a lot of really energetic camera work and and angles to keep even the non Afterlife scenes visually interesting. Sadler is entertaining as Death (the montage of board games being most humorous), and Ackland has always made a most menacing villain. So yeah, give it a watch dudes!

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