First off let me say I am a BIG Ben 10 fan and in being one, I actually had some hope for this movie. Despite how obviously bad the concept sounded I was still interested, unfortunately, the movie turned out exactly as it sounded: a bad idea. Sometimes the special effects were okay, other times it just looked sloppy. The idea of a live Ben 10 movie is one that should NOT be handled by CN ever.
For a network that created its own show and made a movie about it, they sure didn't seem to know what they were doing. I'm a detailed person so expect this to be a long review. First off, the actors for this were not exactly the best. Pretty much everyone was weak, anemic, and a poor example of their cartoon counterparts.
Graham Phillips genuinely seemed like he was trying to "be Ben". The one liners, the attitude, he really seemed like he was trying to be a good Ben but he ultimately sucked at it. He didn't give any life or the "shine" Ben had in the show and the fact they actually made him forget who the Plumbers were is an insult.
Ben's no genius but he's not THAT stupid, I felt that was a bad portrayal of his character. Now for Gwen, the WORST CHARACTER ever! Haley Ramm may look like Gwen with that red hair, but she practically breezed through this film. She put on a pathetic, non existent, weakling attempt at "acting" and was practically emotionless.
None of her sass between her cousin existed, her magic powers didn't show up, they had her trademark outfit on for like 3 MINUTES! Which really upset me because I liked her outfit from the show and felt it fit her well. And most annoyingly, she ruined a perfectly well written climax for Gwen's character.
Towards the end of the movie, Gwen makes this big speech and I loved seeing her character enter those emotional moments in the show but this kid just totally breezed all emotions away with a dry performance. The only and I mean ONLY one character from the show who fit dead on was Lee Majors as Grandpa Max.
If a big budget movie comes around, I hope he's cast again because he was excellent. He got the voice, the attitude, and the warmth of Grandpa down to a tee. Now for the new characters: Eon and Ben;s parents. Eon (the movie's villain) was the only neat new thing they brought in, he was a neat character.
His design was cool to look at, I liked his voice, and he was quite compelling as a sort of honorable villain who cared more about his people then himself and despite still being a bastard, he had more going for him then most of Ben's usual villains. However, Ben's parents proved to be one of the biggest let downs.
The show NEVER showed them or said their names and to see them like this, feels like a weak attempt to give them faces. They are played down to cliché hippie, "emotional growth" parents who don't seem like Ben at all. I was hoping for a bigger surprise considering Ben's parents have been a total mystery, and this just felt like a lame attempt.
The whole town being Plumbers I felt was a stupid thing. It ruined the mystique of the Plumbers by making it seem this is so "destiny" like having Ben's hometown being the last refuge of the Plumbers. I felt it was a weak attempt to try and tie Ben's future with his hometown very unnecessary.
The story itself was average, it was all right and they had some neat new tricks by having Eon reveal secrets about the watch (although quite confusing ones). But even the big "weapon" the "hands of Armageddon", not only sounded stupid but was stupid, it felt like a cheap plot device with little thought behind its existence or use.
The movie tries to make it sound more important by giving us lame tie ins to famous landmarks and incidents (grand canyon, Chicago fire etc). Finally, we reach the aliens. All of them looked pretty good actually despite how few they appeared. Wild Mutt probably looked the worst, it looked like his body was CGI but his mouth was regular animation.
Diamondhead was probably the best looking and sounding, Gray Matter looked great but sounded like some sort of mentally challenged clown then his usual cool smart sounding voice. The movie's music scored well, it all sounded like the shows themes and sounds so at least they got one thing right.
But the biggest problem with this movie with me is: its a new story. CN originally said this movie doesn't connect to the show at all, yet the movie clearly takes place AFTER the summer Ben started on so in a sense, after the show. They mention things from the series to make it seem like its connected.
Yet the idea of making a NEW story proved to be too stupid an idea. Because this is a low budget CN original movie, they have would have been better off doing a LIVE retelling of when Ben first found the Omnitrix rather then creating a whole new story with new characters, villains, and plot devices to the show.
Not to mention actually having someone die with a decaying skeleton was a surprise for this kind of film. In the end, "Ben 10: Race against time" clearly bit off more then it can chew and didn't think this through. A few nice ideas and a great live Grandpa Max don't excuse 90 minutes of poor planning, crap acting, and a sloppy story which inevitably reminds me of what Carl said in "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" after they surgically turned him to a woman: "You're right.....this was a very bad idea".