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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey is a 1991 American science fictionfantasy comedy film, and the directing debut of Pete Hewitt. It is the second film in the Bill & Ted franchise, and a sequel to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure(1989). Keanu Reeves,Alex Winter and George Carlin reprise their respective roles. The film's original working title was Bill & Ted Go to Hell and the film's soundtrack featured the song Go to Hell by Megadeth, which Dave Mustaine wrote for the film.
The film opens in the utopian future that results from the music of Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves). Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland), who detests this society, steals one of the time-traveling phone booths with the aid of two robots fashioned after Bill and Ted named: Evil Bill and Evil Ted, and travels to the late 20th century, with the intent to prevent Bill and Ted from winning the San Dimas Battle of the Bands. Rufus (George Carlin) attempts to stop De Nomolos but becomes lost in the circuits of time.
In the present—three years after the events of the first film—Wyld Stallyns is preparing for the contest; though Bill and Ted's current fiancées and former 15th-century princesses Elizabeth (Annette Azcuy) and Joanna (Sarah Trigger) have become skilled musicians, Bill and Ted are still inept. Despite this, the organizer Ms. Wardroe (Pam Grier) assures them a slot in the contest as the final act. Bill's stepmother, Missy (Amy Stock-Poynton), divorces his father, in favor of Ted's, who still suggests that Ted should go to military school (although has considerably lightened up since the last movie), should they fail the Battle of the Bands. Evil Bill and Evil Ted arrive and the robots eventually replace Bill and Ted, killing them by throwing the two over the side of a cliff at Vasquez Rocks. The robots behave rudely to the princesses and work to ruin the duo's fame.
Bill and Ted's souls are met by Death (William Sadler) who challenges them in a game for their souls. Bill and Ted escape after giving Death a"melvin". They attempt to alert their families but their ethereal forms prove difficult, and at one point, are cast down into Hell at a séance held by Missy. In Hell, they are tormented by Satan (voiced by Frank Welker), made to face their own fears, manifesting as Col Oats, the Easter Bunny, and Granny S Preston, and realize their only escape is to take Death's offer. Taken to Death's chambers, the spirit gives them the option of what game to play. Bill and Ted, to Death's dismay, select modern games like Battleship, Clue, and Twister, easily beating Death. Death admits defeat and unwillingly becomes their servant. Bill and Ted recognize they need to locate the smartest person in the universe to help build robots to counter De Nomolos' evil robots. Death escorts the two to Heaven, and with God's help, are directed to an alien named Station who has the ability to split into two identical twins, and readily offers to help Bill and Ted.
Death brings them back to the mortal world, where it is the night of the Battle of the Bands. Bill and Ted take Station to a hardware store, and then race in their van back to the concert while Station constructs good robots. Just as the evil robots take the stage, Bill and Ted arrive, and Station's robots easily defeat the evil ones. De Nomolos appears in the time booth, ready to defeat Bill and Ted himself, and overrides the broadcasting equipment to send the video footage of this to everyone on the planet. The two recognize they can later go back in time to arrange events for De Nomolos to be trapped in the present, aided by Death and Station; though De Nomolos is apparently able to do the same, Bill and Ted gain the upper hand with the explanation that it is only the winners who get to go back, and De Nomolos is arrested by Ted's father. Ms. Wardroe reveals herself to be a disguised Rufus, having assured Bill and Ted's spot in the concert, and urges them to play.
As Bill and Ted reunite with their fiancées, they realize they are still terrible musicians, and the four use the time booth; though they return immediately, "an intense 16 months of guitar training plus a two week honeymoon" have passed for them, they have married the princesses and each is raising a young infant "Little Ted" and "Little Bill". They begin to perform a stunning rock ballad, joined by Death, Station, and the good robots. The worldwide broadcast set by De Nomolos continues, and Wyld Stallyns' music is played across the globe, creating harmony. During the end credits, fictional newspaper and magazine articles describe the worldwide impact of the Stallyns' music towards the Utopian future.
- Alex Winter as William "Bill" S. Preston, Esq./Evil Bill/Granny S. Preston, Esq.
- Keanu Reeves as Theodore "Ted" Logan/Evil Ted
- William Sadler as Death (The Grim Reaper)/Englishman
- Joss Ackland as Chuck De Nomolos
- George Carlin as Rufus
- Pam Grier as Ms. Wardroe
- Annette Azcuy as Elizabeth
- Sarah Trigger as Joanna
- Hal Landon Jr. as Captain Logan
- Amy Stock-Poynton as Missy
- Ed Gale, Arturo Gil, and Tom Allard as Station
- Neil Ross as Station Twin #2 (voice)
- Frank Welker as the voices of Satan, The Easter Bunny and Station
There are cameos from Primus, Jim Martin of Faith No More, and futureLinkin Park guitarist Brad Delson. Director Peter Hewitt makes a cameo as the scruffy-looking smoker in Builders' Emporium to whom Death mumbles, "See you real soon."
Writers Ed Solomon (with glasses) and Chris Matheson (in white shirt) appear as New Agers at Missy's seance. Ed is credited as 'Stupid' seance member, and Chris is credited as 'Ugly' seance member. They are given similar credits in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Also in the seance scene, the incantation Missy uses to send Bill and Ted to Hell is "D'lrow eht elur lliw sirhc dna de," or "Ed and Chris will rule the world" backwards. The character "De Nomolos" is also a reference to writer Ed Solomon, as it is his first and last name spelled backwards.
The song Bill & Ted play for the Battle of the bands is Final Guitar Solo by Steve Vai, which he wrote to help blend into "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" by Kiss, although they appear similar in appearance to Dusty Hill & Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.
Desson Howe of The Washington Post called it "an entertaining, surreal journey" that is "funnier and livelier than the original." Janet Maslin ofThe New York Times called it "amusing but sloppy and overcomplicated". Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of a possible 4 stars, writing, "It's the kind of movie where you start out snickering in spite of yourself, and end up actually admiring the originality that went into creating this hallucinatory slapstick." (Ebert did not see or review the first film.) Dave Kehr, then of the Chicago Tribune, also gave the film 3 stars. He stated that it is unusual for an Ingmar Bergman parody to show up in a teen comedy and referred to the film as a "genuine pleasure." Gene Siskel, also of the Tribune, gave the film only 2½ stars, but did believe the second film to be better than the first.Leonard Maltin also gave Bogus Journey 2½ stars, a half-star more than he gave to Excellent Adventure. Variety wrote that the film has "a few triumphant moments, but not enough to sustain pic's running time."
Marvel Comics adaptation
To coincide with the release of the movie, Marvel Comics released aone-shot comic book adaptation of the movie, hiring Evan Dorkin to adapt the screenplay and pencil the art. Like Archie Goodwin'sadaptation of the first Star Wars film, Dorkin worked from the original script, which included many of the deleted scenes, and portrayed Death as the archetypal skeletal figure. Due to the popularity of the comic, Marvel commissioned a spin-off series, Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book, which kept the talents of Dorkin, DeStefano and Severin. The series ran for 12 issues, featuring original stories. The first arc features negative results from Death's decision to take a vacation.
In 2010, Reeves indicated that Matheson and Solomon were working on a script for a third film, confirming in April 2011 that a draft was complete. Winter said in March 2012 that he and Reeves both like the finished script, which revisits the two characters after the changes of the past twenty years. Despite the script being finished and satisfied by both parties, no specific filming dates have been named.