DVD Review: Handy Manny's Motorcycle Adventure (2009)

Now Available on DVD

The next time I'm having trouble playing Miss Amateur Fix-It, I think I'm going to take a cue from the warm and wise Disney Channel series character Handy Manny by enticing my tools with the promise of a tamale to follow the completion of a successful task.

Although obviously, this decision would require another challenge as Miss Amateur Cook-It. However, if you're as do-it-yourself challenged as I am, I think it'd be worth the effort... even if by doing so, I would also risk a trip to the non-animated, non-Disney Channel but very real Psychiatric Ward from attempting to conduct complicated conversations with my tools.

Yet, the regular occurrence of both man and inanimate objects practicing practical repair etiquette via Spanglish bilingual conversations and the occasional impromptu sing-along provide the integral building blocks that form the rock solid foundation of both Disney's popular preschool age television series as well as the titular character's first ever feature-length original DVD movie, Handy Manny's Motorcycle Adventure.

With one coat of Home Improvement's Tim the Toolman Taylor and a second one consisting of Tim Allen's OTHER alter-ego, Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, the series creators have manged to renovate traditional children's entertainment.

The result is a high quality preschool program that augments its engaging characters of repairman Manny's talking tools that-- unlike Woody and Buzz who are unable to speak with their human owner Andy in Toy-- have the storytelling advantage to interact directly with Manny to great problem-solving effect.

While the emphasis is primarily centered on applying their knowledge to offer solutions to any number of fix-it dilemmas that cross their path, like other intellectually valuable and friendly early learning entertainment, Manny manages to weave in worthwhile lessons about teamwork, honesty, and friendship.

Moreover, it's of particular interest to contemporary parents eager to promote cultural awareness and globally responsible attitudes due to the fact that it translates the Spanish language as the storytelling progresses and Manny's sense of Spanglish goes back and forth from his typical mode of saying a phrase in Spanish and explaining it in English to simply making sporadic statement purely in English or Spanish.

In my first introduction to Manny, I found myself quickly caught up by his Motorcycle Adventure. Yet in addition to its impressive vocabulary building foreign language work and adorable Toy Story like plot as Pat the Hammer feels melancholy that he doesn't know more about his origins when they travel to Manny's family reunion, I was thrilled by it's eye-popping color palette and design scheme.

Although I viewed the Walt Disney screener on a Blu-ray up-convert player that really brought this standard DVD to life at nearly five times its clarity level, it's important to note that the stellar presentation fit right in with my recent review of Disney's Pixar titles. However, even in a basic DVD player, the world of Handy Manny springs to life in near 3-D quality thanks to its vividly colored animation with razor blade sharp definition.

By ensuring that even a presentation of a disc that was derived from a television series looked this triumphant, Handy Manny's fast-paced Motorcycle Adventure pulls you in for the brisk, action packed ride. Featuring a new song by Los Lobos as well as giving viewers two different age group “skill set” interactive ways to watch the bonus holiday episode like a DVD learning game, Handy Manny managed to endear me even more than some of the theatrical releases served up for children at the multiplex this year in this terrific Adventure.

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FTC Disclosure: This is neither an advertisement nor a paid review. As is standard practice for film critics, I received a review copy of this title from Walt Disney Home Entertainment, from which to judge its contents. Likewise, receipt of this disc had absolutely no bearing on whether or not this received a favorable or negative review and more so, having watched it has had no impact on my inability to hang a shelf or my disappointment that I still cannot use a screwdriver correctly.