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Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey – Steelbook (Blu-ray Review)

Just two years ago, Shout! Factory made a splash when they announced Bill and Ted’s Most Excellent Collection on Blu-ray. Not only were they releasing a super duper version of the original movie, but they debuted its sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey onto Blu-ray with equal love and care. The only way to own Bogus Journey was to own the collection…until now. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey will be available stand alone in this terrific new limited edition steelbook. Unlike the disc in the set, it won’t just carry commentaries, the retrospective documentary “Bill and Ted Go To Hell” has been added to it, making for a nice definitive release for the movie as Shout! Factory often tends to do. You can pick up this release now, as they brought it out back on November 20th. I’m not sure how limited this release is (Or the Streets of Fire one I just reviewed, for that matter), but the steelbook for the first film is still readily available ($14.99 at Best Buy currently). However, Bogus Journey has never been available by itself and seems to be a rarer item in the world of Blu-ray. 

Film 

Amiable slackers Bill and Ted are once again roped into a fantastical adventure when De Nomolos, a villain from the future, sends evil robot duplicates of the two lads to terminate and replace them. The robot doubles actually succeed in killing Bill and Ted, but the two are determined to escape the afterlife, challenging the Grim Reaper to a series of games in order to return to the land of the living.

The second Bill and Ted film isn’t at all a bogus rehash of the first film at all. The only carry over is the comedic duo and interplay of our main characters. You’re getting a COMPLETELY different monster in Bogus Journey. One that neither looks nor plays out as a time travel adventures as the first one was. The method of time travel is only really utilized in setting up the story, but this one directs us to a more fantastical, mystical quest.

I hadn’t seen Bogus Journey in maybe 20 years or so, but I was immediately drawn in by the film’s visual palette on display in the film. This is a much grander and “far out” film than the first movie. Its got a lot of wild and weird things going on with characters, creatures and settings. I can’t confidently say all of it works, but just on these factors alone, its a more interesting movie just to look at than the first film. Most of the effects do hold up and there are really interesting choices like the makeup of Bill and Ted after they die to be painted black and white rather than just shooting it in black and white or adjusting the coloring in post.

Overall, I think this is a stronger film film than its legacy might suggest. On may levels, I think it surpasses the original, but a weak third act along with some forced jokes and whatnot lend the former to being an overall more satisfying film. This one is pretty iconic in its own right, too with William Sadler’s Grim Reaper being one of the best things about both movies and for some reason the costumes our heroes wear in this film are the ones I always picture them in. This is a fun film and I’ll probably reach for it over the first if I’m going back to Bill and Ted, just purely to soak in the visuals and design.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey carries the same transfer as it did on the set from Shout! Factory two years ago. The image is pretty solid and filmic in its look. Matte work on the film is a little obvious, but there’s some charm to that for a viewer like me. Details are pretty strong and crisp throughout. Overall, its a solid image and that’s more than good enough for this film.

Depth:  This finds its depth of field slightly above average. It has a nice cinematic motion to it, but the pushback isn’t all to great. It works enough though and isn’t “bad” by any means.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and pretty well saturated here. There are a lot of moments in darkness and painted by shadow and it all looks pretty well with no problematic issues with information disappearing.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty vivid at times but have a good sense of restraint. Right from the start we are treated to a lot of neons that the picture handles in a natural way. Reds are pretty strong here and the whites in this image are pretty well saturated and oddly impressive.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish in the film. Facial features and textures are pretty discernible and visible from medium and close ups for much of the film.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: These are the same track available on the earlier issued disc from Shout! Factory. Its a rock solid and plenty loud track with plenty of boom. The intricacies in the effects from the mix aren’t the most crisp, but they work well enough.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Bass, drums, laser blasts, crashing and any sort of destruction really gives an impressive bump from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one plays mostly up front. There are a few moments of uniqueness, but mostly this track just builds up ambiance and concert-like moments in the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are pretty clear, and audible at any given moment in the film, no matter how rambunctious things get in the narrative.

Extras 

Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey comes in limited edition collectible steelbook packaging.

Audio Commentary

  • With Star Alex Winter and Producer Scott Kroopf
  • With Writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon

Bill and Ted Go to Hell: Revisiting a Bogus “Journey” (HD, 52:04) – Featuring Interviews With Actors Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, And William Sadler, Producer Scott Kroopf, Production Designer David L. Snyder and Composer David Newman. They go over original concepts for the film as well as digging into some production issues with the film’s first act, even giving us a look into cut sequences as well as revealing stuff that wasn’t film. Quite a treat.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:03)

Summary 

Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey is a radically different sequel that isn’t afraid to take big chances, though not always coming out successful. Shout! Factory’s steelbook for the film finally gives it a standalone release on Blu-ray. They’ve added the documentary to this disc, making it really a full package. The film both looks and sounds quite strong. The first one saw some solid price drops, so you may want to see where this one goes in the coming months before picking it up.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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