A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like the animated series it's based on, this made-for-TV movie features a hefty amount of violence -- which, in live-action form, could be even more upsetting to young viewers. Frequent clashes between good and evil characters include hand-to-hand fighting, gun use (there's no blood, but some aliens drop out of sight when they're shot), and superpowers like wielding fireballs and draining the life from people (the act isn't shown, but a corpse-like victim is). A ruthless villain briefly overtakes the hero's body to regain his own strength, causing the boy (who looks like a man) to turn against his cousin. It's worth noting that there's a full line of tie-in toys and games in stores, so young fans may start asking for them after tuning in.
What's the story?
Based on the popular animated series Ben 10, BEN 10: RACE AGAINST TIME is a live-action, made-for-TV movie that continues the story of Ben Tennyson, an average tween whose life changed dramatically when he discovered a high-tech wristwatch called the Omnitrix that can transform him into various alien forms. The movie picks up as Ben (Graham Phillips) returns to his hometown of Bellwood after an eventful summer fighting aliens. With school looming on the horizon and his new-age parents even less in touch with him than before, Ben often finds himself longing for an alien invasion to give him an escape from the dull reality of his everyday life. It's not long before his fantasy comes true, when ruthless villain Eon (Christien Anholt) arrives on Earth to hunt down Ben and steal the Omnitrix to activate a doomsday machine and take over the planet. Only with the help of Gwen, his grandfather, and the town's secret group of alien fighters can Ben battle Eon and his minions and save the town from utter destruction.
Is it any good?
Young fans of the TV series will naturally gravitate toward this action-packed movie. But their parents should know that it ups the show's violence level (many battle scenes feature hand-to-hand fights, gun use, and super powers). Even kids who are unaffected by the series' cartoon battles could find the clashes here upsetting, since the live-action factor makes it more difficult to distinguish between fantasy and reality. And for really young kids, the very idea of aliens invading a town is nothing more than a nightmare waiting to happen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Ben a hero. Is it his ability to morph into aliens and fight off villains, or is it that he takes on challenges and asks for support when needed? Also, is fighting ever an appropriate response in a conflict? If so, when? What other responses are options? Families can also discuss how the media handle the possibility of alien life. How do fantasy and science-fiction movies and series like this one affect your opinion of extraterrestrial life? Do you believe in aliens? Why or why not?
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