A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that violence is a concern in this TV movie inspired by the animated series Ben 10. Cartoon-style exchanges between Ben (in various alien forms) and his alien competitors result in imploding buildings, mangled cars, and exploding missiles, but no visible injuries. Expect some competitive banter between Ben and his cousin as each tries to outdo the other and they tease each other with names like "dweeb" and "pea brain." For his part, Ben isn't a rule-follower when it comes to teachers' or parents' policies, but he changes his tune as a result of his experiences.
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What's the story?
The end of summer break and the start of the school year finds 10-year-old superhero Ben Tennyson (voiced by Tara Strong) at odds with his teacher, grounded by his parents, and itching for some major alien-hunting action. So when his old friend Tetrax (David Fennoy) shows up and invites him along on an intensive training program somewhere far, far away, Ben barely hesitates before jumping at the chance. Unfortunately, the excursion is complicated by his malfunctioning Omnitrix, which sends Ben back to Earth stuck in variations of his alien forms. Even worse, his arrival coincides with that of an unidentified Mechamorph who's got one goal: Destroy all aliens. A battle ensues, and alien-form Ben and the Mechamorph are transported to another universe that exists within the Omnitrix itself. It will take all of his wits, plus the help of his Grandpa Max (Paul Eiding) and cousin Gwen (Meagan Smith), for Ben to get back home safely.
Is it any good?
If your kids are new to Ben's adventures, then the lack of continuity between Ben's different incarnations won't be a factor, but some long-time fans might find it a hindrance. BEN 10: DESTROY ALL ALIENS revisits the younger incarnation of the morphing superhero character who, throughout his on-screen existence, has been both animated and live-action, a fresh-faced tween and a brooding teen. All of these physical alterations can be frustrating for fans who try to stay loyal to a favorite character, and this TV movie is no exception.
One thing that does remain consistent is the violence that exists within the context of the story. True, it's impossible to tell an entertaining superhero story without the two sides facing off at some point, but Destroy All Aliens relies on lengthy exchanges of gunfire, explosions, and crushing blows to fill time in what's a fairly simplistic plot. But it's not all bad. Amid all the morphing and mechanical malfunctioning are strands of a story that emphasizes the joy of family life, even, as Ben learns, when that comes with rules he doesn't really like.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about heroes. What defines a hero for you? Who in your life inspires and motivates you to be a better person? Do you think heroes should be held to a higher standard because of the influence they can have?
Kids: How does Ben's attitude about his parents change during the movie? Why does your family establish rules about homework, bedtime, and TV time? How do these help ensure your health and safety?
How does the violence in Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens compare to what you've seen in other movies and TV shows? Does cartoon violence ever scare you? Does it feel different when it's live action?
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