Disney // 2009 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // December 9th, 2009
A full-length adventure!
Handy Manny has been part of the Disney Channel's early morning Playhouse Disney line-up of entertainment for preschoolers since 2006. Set in the quaint little town of Sheetrock Hills, the show follows the adventures of handyman Manny Garcia (Wilmer Valderrama, That '70s Show) and his talking tools; Pat the hammer (Tom Kenny, SpongeBob SquarePants), Dusty the saw (Kath Sousie, Rugrats), Rusty the monkey wrench (Fred Stoller, Seinfeld), Squeeze the pliers, Stretch the tape measure, Felipe the Phillips screwdriver, Turner the flathead screwdriver, and Flicker the flashlight. Each week Manny and his tools make repairs for hardware store owner Kelly, candy seller Mr. Lopart, kindly old lady Mrs. Portillo, Manny's grandfather Abuelito, and the other residents of Sheetrock Hills. In the process, the gang teaches their young audience a bit of Spanish. With its focus on bilingualism, Handy Manny is a little like Dora the Explorer only with better animation and characters that don't make your ears bleed with their grating, squeaky voices.
Handy Manny's Motorcycle Adventure is a 46-minute primetime special that originally aired in October of 2009, near the end of the show's second season. In it, Manny and his tools head out on a cross-country trip to Manny's reunión de familia. On the road, they're offered helping hands from new friends Pops the gas station owner (Kris Kristofferson) and a kind farmer (Donny Osmond). The idea of a family reunion sends Pat on a side quest for other claw hammers with which he can feel familial warmth and acceptance. In the end, of course, he learns that his true family is Manny, the other tools, and the close community of Sheetrock Hills. In addition to light adventure and learning, the show offers preschoolers five entertaining musical numbers, including "Rolling" by Los Lobos.
Handy Manny's CGI animation is rendered in an intentionally soft, almost pastel, color palette edged with hard black lines. The 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced transfer of Motorcycle Adventure accurately reproduces the color and detail with only a few minor instances of combing. The show looks great on DVD. Audio is presented in English and Spanish. Both tracks are clean, simple stereo.
The disc comes equipped with an adventure mode that allows kids to answer trivia questions with the DVD player's remote as they watch the show. Adventure mode offers two levels, one for very young children and one for older kids. Each level can also be played as a straight-up trivia track that doesn't require audience participation. There's also a bonus episode, Season One's Christmas show, "A Very Handy Holiday." In it, Manny and the tools fix the lights on Sheetrock Hills' official Christmas tree.
Handy Manny's Motorcycle Adventure is good, clean fun for young children. It even offers a ravine motorcycle jump that, while far from exciting, at least has the distinction of being less anti-climactic than Evel Knievel's 1974 skycycle jump of Snake River Canyon.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Adventure Mode
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site