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Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix DVD

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Take a pinch of ‘Men in Black (animated)’, a table spoon of ‘Greatest American Hero’ and back up a truck load of every ‘Smart-ass, ten-year-old, D-bag finds an alien device which grants him super powers’ show ever made and you’ve got yourself a recipe for Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix.

This DVD release features the animated movie which follows on from the successful Cartoon Network series, Ben 10. The series followed the adventures undertaken by Ben, his cousin Gwen and their grandfather, Max, after Ben finds a watch-like, alien device which fuses to his wrist and grants him the ability to take on the form of any alien contained in its database (initially there are ten).

After doing battle with a crazed scientist, Dr. Animo, the alien device on Ben’s wrist — The Omnitrix — begins behaving erratically. Only when an alien named Tetrax shows up does Ben learn that the device has gone into self-destruct mode. In an effort to save his life, Tetrax takes Ben out into the universe to find the Omnitrix’s mysterious creator.

In the real world, sans alien device, Ben is exactly the kind of kid who would deserve to be blown to bits by a self-destructing alien device. He’s an annoying, selfish little jerk, who is the only one who thinks his one liners come even vaguely close to being funny. Gwen is a little more bearable, but not by much. She’s the token older sister figure (although she’s actually Ben’s cousin and around the same age) who has some ability to use magic: Something clearly established in the series but not explained in this movie. Ben and Gwen butt heads on just about everything.

Like so many shows that are aimed at a younger audience, to an adult the ‘heroes’ come off as senseless brats who are far too self involved to listen to those older and wiser than them. Although as Secret of the Omnitrix plays out you begin to see that this is something of a turning point for the characters, particularly Ben, as he begins to see that there are some larger consequences to his impulsive actions and inability to take things seriously.

For me, Tetrax, a member of a race whose physiology resembles that of rock, saves this movie from having a completely unbearable cast. Tetrax is a mercenary whose past allows him to identify with Ben’s nature and guide him towards being more responsible with the abilities the Omnitrix grants him. Tetrax’s formidable skills also help Ben avoid being captured by an apparent, H.P Lovecraft-looking, former enemy (from the series) named Vilgax.

The DVD has a neat feature which I don’t believe I’ve seen before. When you load the disc you are presented with three options: Each represented by an alien creature. Your choice at this point affects the beginning of the movie – the whole opening sequence with Ben fighting Dr. Animo plays out with Ben in the form of the creature you choose.

Despite my reservations regarding the main characters in this movie, and some fairly inconsistent character / creature design — some being brilliant looking and extremely well represented, while others look like the work experience kid drew them — I did actually enjoy the movie. Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix is clearly targeted towards an audience around the 8 to 14 year old range and isn’t really intended to greatly appeal to anyone much older than that. Were I not reviewing this movie I’m not sure it would have caught my attention and I’m not sure I’d have sat through the whole thing, but then, I’m WAY outside the target audience that I mentioned earlier. At least I know though, that I can put this movie on the next time my nephew visits and that he’s going to get a real kick out of it. [source]

Programme content, package design and supplementary material © 2008 Cartoon Network. CARTOON NETWORK, BEN 10, the logos and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © 2008 Cartoon Network. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
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