It’s official: Ben 10: Race Against Time is done!

Wikipedia.)

We’ve been talking about it for months. My son has been talking about it for years, or at least it’s really starting to feel that way. But yesterday Cartoon Network finally gave the big victory sign out to the masses: Production on the Ben 10 live action movie has been completed. This, of course, yields a whole new summary of Race Against Time complete with actor profiles:

Graham Phillips (EVAN ALMIGHTY) stars as Ben Tennyson, a normal 10-year-old boy who is able to transform himself into a variety of super aliens like the powerful Heatblast or the beastly Wildmutt. Lee Majors (THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN) also stars as Grandpa Max, who uses his past experiences with the paranormal to guide and protect his grandchildren, Ben and Gwen, through their many adventures in fighting evil.

Haley Ramm (X-MEN 3) is Gwen, Ben’s level-headed 10-year-old cousin and Ben’s much needed voice of reason because despite his ability to change physically, Ben is still a kid at heart and has a little trouble figuring out how to act like a superhero when the pressure is really on. Christien Anholt (RELIC HUNTER) plays Eon of Chronia, Ben’s nemesis in the movie. Eon was the first alien ever captured by Max’s secret organization, “The Plumbers.” The now-escaped Eon is trying to locate the doomsday device that was taken and hidden when he was captured. The device is capable of opening a gateway to Earth, signaling the start of an alien invasion that would mark the end of humankind.

That sounds… well, bad. I mean, an alien invasion that marks the end of humankind seems like it could really put a crimp in your day.

The trailer is floating around YouTube, and I have to admit, it looks pretty slick. Check it out:

The movie won’t be going live until November, though. You could probably find something for your little Ben 10 fan to tide him over until then, but be prepared.

Ben 10 news from Comic-Con

here, but in particular I was interested in the movie news they had to share:

[T]he Ben 10 animated movie, Secret of the Omnitrix, which premieres Friday August 10th with additional airings Saturday and Sunday night that weekend, will actually have three versions depending on which night the viewer watches. Different aliens will appear each night.

Oh, that’s just dastardly. I have to watch it three times? Of course I have to watch it three times. Otherwise I might miss something! I’d better hope my son doesn’t have any plans that weekend, I guess.

(On a side note: Have they been advertising the different versions? I’d seen the trailer but had no idea this was the case until I read it at Toon Zone. Hrm.)

If you’re a bit late to the party and haven’t been looking forward to Secret of the Omnitrix for ages, Wikipedia offers this plot summary:

During a battle with Dr. Animo, Ben Tennyson’s destruction of the scientist’s “DNA bomb” accidentally sets off a self-destruct protocol in the Omnitrix. In order to stop it, he has to travel across space to track down the Omnitrix’s creator. Michael Ouweleen described the film’s villain as “like Darth Vader without the sense of humor.” Trailers of the film confirm that Vilgax will have a part, as will Hoverboard.

If it’s the live action movie you’re wanting information about, they’ve got that over at Toon Zone as well:

In regards to the Ben 10 live action movie, Ben 10: Race Against Time, Director Alex Winter was on hand to discuss its progress. Shooting finished last Friday and Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man) will play Grandpa Max. The plot features Ben returning home at the end of summer and going back to school where it turns out something is amiss involving aliens and fate of universe. Ben’s parents will also make an appearance in the movie and there will be more featured on the history of the Plumbers. While the live action movie shares the same continuity as the series, the events of the movie will not be in continuity. It is set to premiere November 21, 2007. There is the possibility of more live action Ben 10 movies if ratings are strong.

Despite my initial reservations about Ben 10 going live, I have to admit that Lee Majors as Grandpa Max sounds nothing short of awesome. I mean, really, that’s a brilliant stroke of casting, right there.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I apparently need to set my DVR to record Secret of the Omnitrix all three times.

Favorite hero soon to be Protector of Earth

Ben 10!” Because he can’t just say he wants to be Ben 10, he has to tell me why. And that explanation will doubtless include a litany of which aliens have which powers and what sorts of situations call for which things and before I know it I’ve been sucked into an alternate dimension where I am forced to discuss what sorts of super powers I would like to have.

And for some reason, he is never amused when I say “The ability to make my son stop talking.”

Anyway, I would consider it a personal favor if you would not let my son know that D3PA is developing the Ben 10: Protector of Earth video game:

Set to arrive this fall for Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and PSP, Ben 10: Protector of Earth will allow players to harness the power of the Omnitrix and change into various alien beings in order to save the world vile villains.

I’m telling you, if my son finds out, it would be the end of the world as I know it. On the other hand, maybe if he had the game to play, he wouldn’t ask me quite so often to justify my love of Heatblast. (Heatblast isn’t necessarily my favorite. He’s just the only one whose name I can remember.)

“The Omnitrix’s most popular alien heroes will be accessible as playable characters, and a familiar summer vacation storyline including all-new locations and content for players will immerse gamers in Ben’s world like never before,” says Careen Yapp, VP of licensing and business development for D3PA.

Ben 10: Protector of Earth will feature other characters from the hit show, including Gwen, Grandpa Max, evil Kevin 11, the Forever Knights and Ben’s arch-enemy, Vilgax. Gameplay will involve a number of diverse challenges, puzzles and skirmishes. The Nintendo DS version is under development by 1st Playable Prods. LLC, while all other versions are being created by High Voltage Software Inc. The game is currently rated “RP” (Rating Pending) by the ESRB.

I need to come up with a plan, now, before the game comes out. Maybe I can use this as the ultimate bribe. “If you are very, very good maybe Santa will bring it,” I can tell him. But then I have to, you know, let Santa bring it. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Playful Perspectives: Ben 10 bicycle gear

The Toy Guy jointly tackle a topic to give you twice the insight and perhaps slightly different takes on an issue.

Given the current craze for all things Ben 10, I suppose that this news should come as no surprise:

Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), the global branding and merchandising arm of Cartoon Network, has signed with Huffy and Bell Sports to bring Ben 10 branded bicycles and safety equipment to store aisles in time for the summer rush.

Huffy will produce a line of Ben 10 inspired bicycles for the United States and Canada. The bikes have a special handlebar “disk changer” that comes with several changeable character discs, allowing kids to personalize their bikes with their favorite Ben 10 alien heroes.

Bell Sports will develop a full line of helmets and protective gear including knee and elbow pads as well as wrist guards.

On the one hand, I wonder if this is character-branding gone a bit too far. Does Ben 10 have something to do with bicycles? On the other hand, when kids have a special favorite they want it on everything, and I do applaud the application of appealing characters to something inherently active instead of, say, another video game. If this gets a reluctant cyclist out there to play with the disk-changer (and then, hopefully, take a spin around the neighborhood), I’m all for it.

Long ago and far away, when I was but a small girl and dinosaurs roamed the earth, I received my first big-kid bike during the bicentennial celebration year. It was—of course—red, white and blue with stars. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And as for imaginative play to go with it… well, my brother and I were especially fond of playing Evel Knievel on our bikes, so my patriotic wheels were perfect. (We needn’t discuss the fact that the most I ever managed to jump was perhaps a stone or the end of a two-by-four; we were imagining, darn it.)

I guess that’s why this part of the announcement bothers me so much:

“Sports and sporting goods are an important part of a boy’s life, and thus a critical category in the marketplace,” said Christina Miller, vice president of consumer products for CNE.

Um, Ms. Miller? Is there a special reason you’re planning to cut your target market in half? The last time I checked, girls were Ben 10 fans, too. In fact, my daughter is a pretty die-hard Gwen fan. (What’s not to like? She’s a quintessential tween with a sassy mouth, quick brain, and a healthy disdain for icky boys.)

For a cartoon that’s been so awesome about sparking the imaginations of our kids, I’m disappointed at this apparent lack of imagination on the part of this marketing team. The last time I checked, it was 2007. Equality now, CNE. Girls want to fight the aliens, too.

What do you think? And don’t forget to go check out The Toy Guy’s take!

Friday bits and pieces

I’ve been meaning to do a round-up of a few items relating to stuff that’s been posted previously, so today seems as good a day as any to do that. Don’t you always want to read the answers to all of your burning questions before you head into the weekend? Of course you do!

We have a winnah… actually, three of them

Waaaaay back in October I brought your attention to the Design Your Destiny Yu-Gi-Oh! Contest over at 4Kids Entertainment. Remember that? Since then, people keep wandering over to that entry and leaving plaintive comments asking about the results. Well, it turns out that the folks at 4Kids have finally announced the winners and put up the winning drawings. (My son and I agree that Tongue Twister is the most deliciously disgusting of the creatures.)

More Cartoon Network Upfront announcements

The announcements about upcoming plans for Ben 10 were just a slice of all the exciting Cartoon Network plans that were revealed in New York City this week. Both Newsarama and ToonZone have been awesome with their coverage. My favorite news (besides the Ben 10 movie news, that is)? Plans for the upcoming Cartoon Network Invaded:

Foster’s Bloo will send a message out to space causing the Cartoon Network universe to be invaded by all manner of aliens. Every Friday in May, an alien will arrive in a new episode of one of that block’s group of programs to raise havoc or something else, culminating with an all-out alien invasion on Memorial Day.

(I’ve never looked forward to Memorial Day quite so much….)

Some actual animation, finally

Remember my ambivalence over Jerry’s Seinfeld’s Bee Movie? I’m warming up to it. The latest trailer may have helped; the animation is clean and I think i can now say I much prefer Seinfeld in his animated form.

Sometimes they get it right

Today is the much-anticipated opening of Bridge to Terabithia, and I peeked through my fingers while looking up the reviews. Have they done it? Did they manage to take a great book and turn it into a great movie, or did they take a great book and turn it into pulp?

I’m breathing a sigh of relief, and buying us tickets online right now. I can’t wait to see it.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!