Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated series inspired by Hot Wheels toys has plenty of high-speed automotive action and cartoon violence. The Battle Force 5 team's ultra-high-tech cars have computerized weapons systems -- which come in handy when they visit other dimensions to do battle with aliens. Expect plenty of racing scenes and car-to-car combat, as well as standard fistfights and other forms of cartoon clashes -- but no blood or injuries. There’s some mild trash-talking, but no swearing. And because the series stems from a line of toys, expect young fans to clamor for merchandise tie-ins.
What's the story?
Racing across the salt flats, expert driver Vert Wheeler (voiced by Mark Hildreth) comes upon a mysterious storm that transports him to another dimension, where he rescues the powerful Sage (Kira Tozer) from a band of dangerous aliens. Sage explains that the violent creatures are trying to conquer the universe and have set their sights on Earth. Once she helps Wheeler return home, Sage transforms his car into an ultra-high-tech wonder complete with computers, sensors, and weapons. After recruiting the rest of the Battle Force 5 team, Sage gives them all incredible vehicles -- and the dangerous task of protecting the planet from the inter-dimensional invaders.
Is it any good?
For a series based on a line of toys, HOT WHEELS: BATTLE FORCE 5 does a decent job of coming up with an actual story unrelated to the original products. Sure, the inter-dimensional conflict is pretty unbelievable, but so are most animated series aimed at young kids, and the plot offers plenty of potential for high-stakes auto action with no actual violence or danger. The team teleports through the portal, accomplishes the mission du jour, and then zaps back home in time for a round of burgers at the local malt shop.
The show also deserves some credit for promoting teamwork and cooperation. The Battle Force 5 team is comprised of five cars and six drivers (one has a two-man crew), all with their own specialties and abilities. Yes, that will make it easier to market five different car products, but the storylines also take pains to show how the group must work together to defeat the villains. The show doesn’t really stand apart from some Saturday morning cartoon classics, but it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the pile, either.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the show's violence. Does it have less impact because it's animated? Can you think of other ways the characters could solve their problems?
Why do you think networks make shows based on toys? Do you think some toys are better suited to TV shows than others?
Will this show appeal to people who don’t like Hot Wheels cars? Does watching this show make you want to get the toys?
What do you think about Wheeler’s driving habits? Is he a good driver? Is he a safe driver? Do you think it’s OK for him to drive so fast?