Hey duders! What better way to end the year than by watching a couple exciting time-travelling films? I’ve not shied away from telling everyone in earshot that Back To The Future is my favourite film and favourite time-travel film, but there’s some pretty good runners-up. On my list would be About Time and Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure. As you can’t watch the first Bill And Ted without the second, today saw me watch both Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey. I thought it’d be great to talk about both since I’ve been negligent about reviews over the past month!
I wanted to check out both films as I haven’t watched them since probably the nineties. I recalled them both with fondness and hoped they would hold up with my current taste in film. I’m pretty damned pleased to suggest that I enjoyed both. In case one didn’t know what the films are about and didn’t feel the want or need to IMDb them, here’s a quick summary. Excellent Adventure can be summed up as a time-travel film with two high-school kids travelling in order to get an A+ on their oral history report as if they fail, events will be set in motion that will cause the downfall of humanity. Yeah, pretty intense. Bogus Journey sees Bill and Ted get killed by a guy from the future in order to again set events in motion that will change the course of history. I’m oversimplifying the films because there’s lots going on in both and I just wanted to start off with the basics.
In Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted concoct a plan to get their A+ by getting famous figures from the past to present-day San Dimas to talk about what they think about the town and modernity. As I watched the film, I realized there wasn’t a lot of tension throughout. A couple of scenes cause a moment or two or stress, but they’re resolved rather quickly and easily. Losing Napoleon, rescuing princesses, fixing the broken phone booth are solved as quickly as they appear. As the film progresses, Billy The Kid, Socrates, Sigmund Freud, Genghis Khan, Joan Of Arc, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and Napoleon are all collected for the oral report and everything goes according to plan. The movie is wrapped up nicely, the future is righted, and the movie ends with a fun fourth wall break. Surprisingly, the movie wasn’t too “out of time” being set in the late eighties. A few big hairdos, some ridiculous surfer slang, and an absolutely necessary convertible red Mustang all graced the screen but didn’t feel out of place. The soundtrack was pretty guitar-heavy to accommodate Bill and Ted being into both guitar and eighties metal.
Jumping forward two years (five in film years), we come to Bogus Journey. I think I liked this one better than the original film. Where the original hopped around in different times, this one played with life and death on top of the time-travel. Bill and Ted start the film with their princess babes, a spot in the battle of the bands, and things are pretty great. In the year 2691, a stereotypical baddie named De Nomolos wants to change the course of history by having Bill and Ted killed. He sends robot clones of our titular heroes and we see the heroes thrown off a mountain to their deaths. While the evil robots are ruining the lives of Bill and Ted by breaking up their relationships with the princesses and breaking up the band, our heroes have to deal with their deaths. We encounter the Grim Reaper, who is sent to collect the two dead dudes. After some fun “personal hell” experiences, Bill and Ted challenge the Reaper to a game (or seven) in hopes of besting him and getting the chance to return to earth to right the wrongs caused by the evil robots. Obviously they win and get back to earth. On their way, they have a quick layover in heaven where they pick up Station, the smartest scientist in the universe. With the scientist’s help, good robots are built to defeat the bad robots, wrongs are righted once again, and the film ends with a most triumphant newspaper and magazine cover montage highlighting the success of Bill and Ted along with their band, Wyld Stallyns.
Both Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey are super fun movies that actually have some pretty exciting twists with their life, death, and time-travel plot lines. As far as late eighties and early nineties films go, these two have aged pretty well and I would recommend them both for a few hours of enjoyment. As a final thought, even though he wasn't in either film a whole lot, anything with George Carlin is good in my books!