This must be tool month at Disney. I ended up watching two of the specials that were released on the first, and both have tools as a central theme. This one is apparently about tools all of the time. Handy Manny is a Spanish handyman who has a living collection of tools in his box. They all talk. The Phillips and straight edge screwdrivers bicker. There’s a tape measure named Stretch, a wrench named Rusty, and a pair of pliers named Squeeze, to name a few. Together with Manny’s expertise, they can tackle any repair or building job.
Manny and his tool friends are preparing to go to Manny’s family reunion. It’s a long trip, so they’re going to take Manny’s motorcycle with a sidecar for the tools. Pat, the hammer, is depressed because he doesn’t seem to have any family that’s just like him. Apparently, Manny’s tools are special and this isn’t a world where tools ordinarily talk. When Pat sees a cartoon hammer on the cover of a tool catalog, he begins to believe it’s his cousin, on his Mother’s side, of course. On the trip to the reunion, Pat sees a truck with the same hammer on it. He sneaks into the truck with Squeeze and Flicker, the flashlight, only to become trapped and separated from Manny and the others. Now Manny must rescue the tools and get to the family reunion in time. Of course, along the way there are plenty of things to fix.
This one is not so geared toward education and is more a straight out adventure. The characters are charming enough. Their Spanish heritage provides the show with a little culture that makes it that much more interesting. It’s still geared toward rather young children, however. This isn’t the kind of thing your 12 year old will find interesting.
Handy Manny is brought to you in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Like the accompanying Mickey Mouse release, colors are bright, and the picture is certainly very clear. It’s not the most detailed animation, so sharpness isn’t going go to be a major problem. The animation is rather large scale like something out of a coloring book.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track does exactly what it was originally intended to do. It delivers dialog and some mid-range music. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to distract.
Adventure Mode: You can watch the show in an interactive mode that has two levels of difficulty. Using your remote you can answer questions while watching the show.
Bonus Short – A Very Handy Holiday (24:08) Manny and the tools are getting ready to attend Kelly’s holiday party. They’ve been building special gifts for everyone. But Manny might not make the party because he keeps running into repair jobs, helping people until late in the night.
At least this one is a little more entertaining for the adults. I guess these characters have been around at least for a while, but this is Handy Manny’s first extended adventure. It’s a good lesson in cultural diversity without getting hit on the head. If you’re looking for something just a little different to share with your very young ones, “Here’s a way to celebrate”.