a review by Nalini Haynes
Created by Man of Action
Ben Tennyson, AKA Ben 10, is a 16 year old with a cousin, Gwen, who both have superpowers. Ben has a watch-like device that does all sorts of super-science stuff from taking DNA samples to turning him into one of many aliens. Gwen has force field powers, enabling her to protect them both or for her to zap Ben’s fans telekenetically when the fans bother Gwen. Kevin is the side kick who used to drive them around before Ben got his licence, but he is also extra muscle as he can morph into whatever substance he touches (usually a type of metal).
Ben 10 Ultimate Alien has superpowers, corny banter and humour. It is fairly fast paced, with plots that have been seen before but possibly not by the target audience. Ben 10 seems to be a USA version of Pokemon, where Ben becomes the alien instead of ‘choosing you’, and his nemeses are aliens and alien technology stealing knights instead of Team Rocket.
When my son was growing up I watched numerous cartoons with him including Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reboot cartoon and so on. The animation in Ben 10 is better than Pokemon, with a blend of traditional animation and CGI and characters don’t slide across the screen while running. Ben 10 doesn’t have the dual level of humour or story as in Shrek, but will be enjoyed by its target audience, 8 to 14 year olds (mostly) boys. And Ben 10’s stories are, in my opinion, better than in the TV series listed above.
This review was previously published in Dark Matter issue 2, January 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.