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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Ben 10: Alien Force, Vol. 5
Ben 10: Alien Force, Vol. 5
Warner Bros. // G // November 17, 2009
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Danny Cox | posted March 29, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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The Series

Writer's Note: Much of this review is the same as that in my review of volume four because the series would be reviewed much easier as a complete season, but we aren't given that luxury.

Cartoons seem to have gotten overly complicated in the past decade as there just appears to be far too much going on. Things were simple when we were kids in the eighties and our Saturday mornings were filled easy to follow patterns that rarely ever strayed from their course. Remember He-Man? Big pansy guy that had rich parents and could secretly turn into an identical dude, but in different clothes, and battle bad guys to save his planet. What about Captain N? Video game playing kid gets sucked into the Nintendo world, teams up with a few familiar good guys, and then battles it out with the bad guys. Not to mention the fact that he used the Nintendo Zapper as an actual gun which we have all pretended to do at one point or another. Today's cartoons just seem far too complicated at times and that holds rather true for animated series like Ben 10.

To be perfectly honest with you, I had never seen a single episode of this series before reviewing Volume Four, but thought a chance could be taken to check it out. I'm always hoping to find a cartoon or two that might be able to hold a candle to the days of old and entertain me. Having to do a little bit of a background check though on Ben 10 to understand what would be appearing on my television was totally necessary. Ben is a simple young kid that just happened to stumble upon an alien crash site while on vacation with some of his family out in the woods. As he investigates the site, he gets something called an Omnitrix that attaches itself to his wrist and appears to be permanently stuck there. A little fiddling around with the device shows that he can use it to transform into one of ten alien life forms with the touch of a simple button. His cousin Gwen and his grandfather Max help him figure out how to use this new power for good and so that Ben also doesn't end up killing himself. Things have gotten a bit hairier for our hero though since he originally found the Omnitrix as the lives of his cousin and grandfather are in even more danger as he fights throughout the universe.

After sitting down and finally figuring out what the series is all about; it's a surprisingly decent cartoon that isn't nearly as complicated as just reading about it. Trying to do my research and understand the series before watching it was my fatal mistake because that made me see things as a bit overwhelming and just too convoluted. Truth be told, Ben 10 is easy to follow and quite entertaining for not only kids but adults as well. Once you realize that the aliens are simply split up into "good" or "bad" with Ben being able to lead himself into battle by transforming, then you've got it all locked up tight. Each story is quite fun and makes for a bit of a nostalgic feel as if I'm watching cartoons twenty years ago.

Volume five of this series takes four episodes from season two and throws them together here, but at least they are in chronological order that they appeared before. Each one is pretty good actually but I must say that "Voided" is the one that sticks out the most here. It kind of blew me away to be honest with you considering it plays off of an old storyline that you really won't know much about unless you've been following the series of played catch-up much like myself. Don't let it be me to spoil it for you, but if you're a fan of Alien Force and never seen that episode then you must check it out soon. The other three aren't bad either with the worst of the bunch being "Pet Project," but that is just in comparison to the others because it's still a good watch.



Episodes

~ Pet Project: Ben, Gwen, and Kevin set out with a friend named Ship and his shape-shifting pet named Chip to battle the Forever Knights. The Knights are trying to capture Chip and use him in war as en evil machine.

~ Grounded: After all this time, Ben's parents finally discover his secrets and his powers so they ground him for lying to them about it all. Soon Gwen also gets grounded forcing Kevin to face the DNAliens all alone. Ben now must make a decision; listen to his parents and stay grounded or defy them to help Kevin and save the Earth.

~ Voided: It's time for Ben to enter the Null Void after learning that Helen and Manny are stuck in there. Ben must do all he can to help his friends without becoming trapped himself, but there is a surprise waiting for him that he never could have imagined.

~ Inside Man: Ben and the gang set out to help a renegade DNAlien that wants nothing to do with the evil creatures anymore, but there are more secrets to be learned about this rebel.

The DVD

Video

The volume five episodes Ben 10: Alien Force are presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame format and look as if they were transferred exactly from the Cartoon Network to DVD. I found no real problems with the transfer at all though as the picture is sharp and colors look great all around. You're pretty much getting what you get when you see the episodes air on television so don't expect any big upgrades.

Sound

Sound for the volume comes through in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound and it also is more than adequate for the material at hand. All dialogue can be heard just fine without any of the music of sound effects ever becoming overbearing. Subtitles in English are available for the hard of hearing, but nothing for those that speak other languages.

Extras Extras

Ben 10: Alien Swarm Characters Sneak Peek - A quick look at each of the four main characters that will appear in the live-action version of the series. This is exactly the one and only feature that was on Volume Four as well and it isn't much of anything. (1:36)

All Said And Done

Now having reviewed two volumes; this series is really growing on me and it's proving to me that not all cartoons these days are time wasters but actually good and decent. There is just no real way I can justify buying these little volumes of four episodes here and five episodes there when we all know "complete seasons" will be on the way sometime in the future. Rent It.

Danny lives in New Orleans with his dog and writes plenty in way of movies, sports, NCIS, Crime TV, and life over at Examiner, IP Movies, and Associated Content. If you're looking to keep up with all he does though, there's always Twitter or Facebook.
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