BILL AND TEDS BOGUS JOURNEY
Most noticeably, the gags have been scaled up from an economy to an A-size budget. Like the game of Battleships with Death at a giant table, this leaves them echoing amid the cavernous oversized sets and the top-notch but superfluous effects. Heaven, for example, is an impressive set with some well-done creature effects but all there is to look at is the sets there is no particular gag going on inside them. Much of the film is just there for you to look at and the first films slacker/stoner humour is left wandering. The first films charm was all in its humour; it did not need, nor did it have, big-budget effects and razzle-dazzle. Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey fatally mis-scales the film into something oversized. Even a chase sequence through Bill and Teds private Hells adds nothing (although has enough sentiment-bashing amusement to suggest that their Hells will be embodied by fluffy toys and a halitotic Granny wanting a kiss).
Still Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey has its small successes. The best aspect is William Sadler as a slightly disgruntled Grim Reaper, played with the accent and wry mannerisms with which they used to characterise Jewish immigrants. The character is an amusing send-up of the personified Death in Ingmar Bergmans The Seventh Seal (1957) (although one suspects that Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon stole more than a little from Terry Pratchett). Bergman crafted the archetypal image of a chess-playing Death but this films amusing spin is to have Death challenging souls to games of Battleships, Cluedo and Twister; or throwing in wittily incongruous images like seeing Death outfitted in a Bo Peep costume and contemplating turning in his scythe for a hoe at a hardware store. The montage ending also does an amusing and credible job of suggesting how the Bill and Ted philosophy could end up conquering the world.
A third Bill and Ted film has occasionally been talked about but has yet to happen. The two characters were subsequently spun out in the animated tv series Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures (1990) and awful live-action tv series Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures (1992) where Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were replaced respectively by Christopher Kennedy and Evan Richards.
British director Peter (sometimes Pete) Hewitt stayed with genre material through his next several films: the adaptation of Mary Nortons little people adventures The Borrowers (1997); Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? (1999), a coming of age comedy about a man with psychic powers; Thunderpants (2002) about a kid who launches a NASA mission using his farts; Garfield (2004), a live-action adaptation of the popular syndicated comic-strip; the superhero film Zoom: Academy for Superheroes (2006); and Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014). Hewitt is also credited with the story for Thunderbirds (2004).