Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cartoon Review - Ben 10: Alien Force

Yeah, it's a bit late, but better late than ever. I finally got around to writing a review on this sequel to the series Ben 10. Now, it's not because I wasn't able to watch, it was because I was lazy. So I watched the third episode last night (the premiere was a two-parter) on Cartoon Network Video and reviewed it. And this is what I got...
Name: Ben 10: Alien Force

Running Time: 22 minutes

Rating: B+

Premiere: April 18, 2008

If you came to see this show expecting to see the light action and witty batter that the original Ben 10 series thrived on, then you should turn back, because this series is a bit different. Ben 10: Alien Force takes place 5 years from where the first series left off, with a teenaged Ben Tennyson putting on the Omnitrix once more, in search for his lost grandfather Max. Coming along for the ride is his cousin Gwen and his former nemesis Kevin Levin. Along the way, they discover this huge alien conspiracy that involves an evil group of aliens planing to takeover the Earth...or destroy it. The series takes a more serious and possibly a darker note than the first series. This may be because of the fact that Glen Murakami, a key creative force on shows DCAU shows like Batman Beyond, Teen Titans and The Batman, is the supervising producer for the show.
Glen takes the show with a different perspective, and as a result, the show is a bit different from it's predecessor, but not so different as to near impossible to compare the two. Of course, that change in the feel of the show should be expected. After all, a lot can happen in five years. There is no longer much "hate" between Ben and Gwen, in fact, they get along a lot better as 15-year-olds then they did as 10-year-olds. Dwayne McDuffie has written the three episodes I've seen so far, and he also seems to be the story editor. He seems to invoke a continuing air of mystery within each episode of the series. Unlike the first show, there are less attempts (if any) at humor, and greater focus on possible character development and the story at hand. The voice actors for the main characters are all different from Ben 10. Ben is now voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who usually voices a character in many English dubs of Japanese anime, when it comes to animation roles. And it's ironic that Ashely Johnson and Greg Cripes (respectively) voice Gwen and Kevin, when Kevin secretly loves Gwen. Let me point to the resume of these voice actors and see that that on the shows they both voiced on, the characters they voice are in love with each other. Could this led to a blooming Kevin and Gwen romance? Maybe. Or, then again, maybe not.
Anyway, the show started off with a huge bang, being the highest rated original series Cartoon Network premiered in it's entire history. And I must say, that's quite a statement. The show is amazing, and it will surely continue to be a hit, but it does have a few flaws, but nothing I can't deal with. One flaw is the aliens. Glen's excuse for it is that the original aliens covered pretty much all the bases, and I can't help but to disagree. So I have to excuse them for the mix-matched aliens that are really parts of previous episodes. Another is the fact of Gwen not really looking like you would think Gwen would look like when she's older. But then you soon forget about that while watching the show. So I'm giving Ben 10: Alien Force a B+, for it is a real step above the first Ben 10. And I will followup this series when it reaches 13 episodes (the halfway point of season one).

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