A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

September 3. 2010

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

After I discovered the error of my ways and decided that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was actually a pretty cool movie I made sure I saw the sequel in the theater when it came out. At the time I remember being underwhelmed. I haven’t seen it since then, so now is a good time to re-evaluate my assessment and see how I feel about it now.

I can totally see what the film makers were trying to do here. Rather than re-hash the first movie with another adventure through time they chose to up the crazy factor and instead have an adventure through death and the afterlife. Parts of the movie are fun, and all of it is weird, but it lacks the charm of the original.

This movie starts on the eve of the fateful battle of the bands that launches Wyld Stallyns to mega stardom, but Bill and Ted still don’t know how to play guitar even. Unless they can somehow become a great band overnight they are doomed to failure, and the future is once more in peril. This time around it is not help that our brain-dead duo o not receive help from the future. Instead an evil mastermind uses the time-traveling phone booth to send a pair of evil robot doppelgangers back in time to kill Bill and Ted and break up the band.

What is surprising is that the evil robots actually succeed in their mission to kill Bill and Ted. So the two of them must outwit Death himself, defeat the Devil, confront God and somehow defeat their evil nemesis. Oh, and they have to rescue their girlfriends (now their fiances) and somehow win the battle of the bands too.

Like I said, I can understand what this movie is trying to do… it just doesn’t work for me. Rather than showing amusing bits of historical figures trying to deal with our modern world we have a whole lot of metaphysical weirdness which is entirely disconnected from our world. This disconnect is accentuated when the pair pick up a couple of diminutive aliens called Station in Heaven. It’s at this point in the movie that I stop caring about what’s going on. Station is/are irritating, bizarre, and never quite feels like a part of the Bill and Ted universe. I suppose that if you’re going to have time travel there’s no reason not to have weird aliens, but undead heavenly aliens with a single word vocabulary, no clothes, and creepy animatraonic big-nosed faces with crazy staring eyes? No, you’ve lost me there.

The final battle of the bands confrontation is, I think, supposed to echo the final oral history presentation in the first movie, where Bill and Ted improbably put on a wonderful show and impress everybody. But by inviting comparisons it makes the lackluster feel of the end of this movie all the more apparent. The end of this movie is frenetic and spastic, but never thrilling or exciting. It doesn’t feel to me like a triumphant and improbable victory for Bill and Ted, instead it feels like what it is: all the characters in the movie crashing into each other at once.

The one thing I really enjoy in this movie is Death, the grim reaper. I admit that I have not seen the Seventh Seal (yes, I know, it’s shocking) but I do recognise an intentional spoof of the iconic Death from that movie. Death here is a buffoon who Bill and Ted repeatedly beat and who eventually becomes a sort of hanger-on for them. He gets all the best lines in the movie though, and the epic confrontation between him and the duo where they must play a game for their very souls is probably the best part of the whole film. Is it enough to redeem the film? No. But it is enough to save it from being unwatchably bad.

September 3, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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