Comedy sequels usually fail spectacularly and infrequently develop into classics worthy of their originals. Look no additional than movies like Main League II, Caddyshack II, Weekend at Bernie’s II, or The Hangover: Half II that each one landed with momentous thuds. Many comedy sequels fail as a result of they try to increase a one-joke premise, padding extra mythology on a narrative that labored as a result of its simplicity. The enjoyment of seeing comedic banter develop can even deplete; if the weird pairing of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones got here as a shock within the first Males in Black, it was tiresome by the point of Males in Black II.
Nonetheless, these are frequent flaws that the Invoice & Ted franchise managed to keep away from. 1989’s Invoice & Ted’s Glorious Journey was a shocking hit, and it might have been simple to primarily replicate the primary movie’s premise and put collectively a rapidly constructed comply with up. There was a straightforward, secure route the sequel may’ve gone, with Invoice S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) about to fail a school examination and compelled to rely as soon as once more on their time touring phone sales space to move them throughout historical past. Fortunately, screenwriters Ed Soloman and Chris Matheson didn’t go that path and constructed a darker, weirder sequel that took the Wyld Stallyns in a brand new path with out forgetting why the primary movie’s humor labored.
30 years after its debut, Invoice & Ted’s Bogus Journey stands as one of many all-time nice comedy sequels as a result of it didn’t merely repeat the identical jokes. The movie solely briefly brings again punchlines from the primary installment with the intention to refamiliarize the viewer with the characters, and present why they’re such loveable losers. Invoice and Ted’s musical talents haven’t grown any stronger within the time that passes between the 2 films, they usually’re ceaselessly outperformed by their brides from the fifteenth Century.
Any perceptions that the sequel could be protecting an excessive amount of acquainted territory is shattered early on. Inside the first act, Invoice and Ted are murdered by cyborg clones of themselves and despatched to hell, the place they’re pressured to cut price with Demise himself, performed brilliantly by William Sadler. Within the land of the dwelling, the cyborg replicants despatched by an evil former gymnasium trainer have taken over their our bodies and wreak havoc on the Wyld Stallyns’ plans to enter the San Dimas Battle of the Bands, a contest that will solidify the utopian futuristic society that’s crafted inside their picture.
Though the story is completely different, Bogus Journey understands precisely what parts made the unique movie enjoyable. The optimistic vitality continues to be there between Winter and Reeves, and the concept these two seemingly dim-witted characters are the landmarks of a brighter future is maintained. Fortunately, the movie doesn’t pit the 2 towards one another with an pointless battle, and the precise off-screen friendship that developed between Winter and Reeves makes their chemistry even stronger.
There’s additionally a ticking time clock they face, as the specter of shedding the Battle of the Bands fulfills the identical menace that failing the historical past examination did in Glorious Journey. The stakes are raised even greater because of the robotic clones, whose entry into the competition provides rigidity to Invoice and Ted’s escape from the underworld. The menace can also be a private one, because the clones torment Invoice and Ted’s respective fiancees Elizabeth (Annette Azcuy) and Joanna (Sarah Set off), proper after they’ve proposed. If the 2 medieval “babes” had been little greater than trophies within the first movie, they really develop as characters within the sequel. It’s the uncommon comedy sequel that takes time to flesh out feminine characters that had been ignored beforehand, and the 2 princesses support in crafting the movie’s show-stopping closing quantity.
The nightmare sequences descend into some genuinely horrific imagery (it was initially titled Invoice & Ted Go to Hell) as Invoice and Ted face off towards traumatic recollections. For Invoice, it’s a kiss from his sinister-looking grandmother, and for Ted it’s a vicious Easter Bunny. The pair’s ingenuity is highlighted as they sq. off towards the Grim Reaper in a sequence of video games like Battleship, Clue, Electrical Soccer and Tornado. The intelligent parody of the chess match towards Demise in Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal is one other signal that these movies are so much smarter than they’re given credit score for.
Whereas comedy sequels like Caddyshack II did not introduce new characters that merge with the present ones, Reaper is a enjoyable third wheel that tags alongside in Invoice and Ted’s misadventures. Sadler delivers traces like a tragic sack who has develop into depressed by his lack of ability to frighten the duo, and the empathy Invoice and Ted give him reminds of how open-minded they’re, and thus why they’re the premise of a utopia. The good make-up work and Sadler’s efficiency add bodily comedy that wasn’t there beforehand, significantly when the trio makes an attempt to navigate their means by means of Heaven.
The movie additionally leans into weirder sci-fi parts, significantly because the gang recruits the genius alien duo Station, permitting Bogus Journey to differentiate itself from the lampooning of historic figures within the first movie. It additionally units up a distinct sort of finale; Glorious Journey ends with Invoice and Ted expressing themselves and solidifying their very best future, whereas Bogus Journey comes right down to an epic musical battle between good and evil.
The ending montage set to KISS’s “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You” is solely infectious and ties up unfastened story ends. Invoice and Ted present improvement as characters and musicians, rising into their obligations as leaders and at last studying to play their devices. It’s ironic that the majority comedy sequels neglect that characters truly have to develop, and Bogus Journey pits its titular leads towards a problem that they overcome and study from. The intergalactic rock live performance that follows (and Reaper’s subsequent lip-syncing scandal) comes because the enjoyable reward.
Final yr’s Invoice & Ted Face The Music was heralded as a novelty, because it’s uncommon for a trilogy to finish with three equally sturdy installments, and it’s even much less usually that this occurs with a comedy franchise. The Invoice & Ted trilogy comprise three installments sure by their optimism and wit, but distinguishable for his or her completely different approaches to the fabric. Invoice & Ted’s Bogus Journey proved this franchise was sustainable, and three many years later it stands as one of many best comedy sequels of all-time.
KEEP READING: Dealing with the Music: Why It Took Over a Decade to Make ‘Invoice and Ted 3’