Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler
Extras: Featurette, Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical Trailer

Those brain-dead dudes Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) return in this sequel to the 1988 hit ’Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’. And believe it or not, this film is even wilder and weirder than the first one. Everything appears to be going great for Bill and Ted. Things are advancing nicely with the medieval princess’ and their band, Wyld Stallyns, is about to enter a ’Battle of the Bands’. But, things turn dark when the evil De Nomolos (Joss Ackland), a tyrant from the future who hates Bill and Ted, sends evil robot versions of the hapless duo to assassinate them, and take their place at the concert. Staying true to their mission, the robots kill Bill and Ted, who now find themselves confronted by Death (William Sadler), and roaming the afterlife. Down, but not out, Bill and Ted recruit Death to help them return to their bodies, save the girls, and win the ’Battle of the Bands’.

The makers of ’Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey’ took a chance making this film much darker than the first one. (The movie was originally entitled ’Bill & Ted Go to Hell’.) This change may alienate some fans of the earlier film. (And some of the scenes may even scare younger viewers.) Still, ’Bogus Journey’ definitely has its fun moments and there are some priceless lines here. Once again, Winter and Reeves are dead-on in their portrayal of two naive losers who always seem to win in the end. The real scene-stealer here is Sadler as the Grim Reaper. His dialogue is priceless and it’s great fun to see the ruthless villain from ’Die Hard 2’ throwing himself into such a silly role. As this film pre-dated the advent of CGI by only a few months, some of the special effects here are laughably bad (Hell looks particularly hellish), but director Peter Hewitt does his best to shoot around this and give the film some style.

MGM Home Entertainment zaps ’Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey’ onto DVD, but the trip suffers from some complications. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen and has been letterboxed at 1.85:1. The image is very sharp and clear at times, but in certain scenes, the picture is hazy and dull. Also, edge enhancement is very noticeable in some shots. As mentioned above, the FX shots suffer on this transfer, looking quite grainy. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is disappointing as well. This track offers clear dialogue, but the music sounds very tinny and many of the sound effects lack any bass. Also, any reverb effects within the film sound very muffled here. This DVD offers a theatrical teaser (full frame) and a trailer (1.85:1), along with a brief behind-the-scenes featurette.