Disney is attempting to rip you off by selling you this cheap pre-school cartoon. Save your money for the 101 Dalmations re-issue or even a few packs of gum. It’s nice to know that we’ve evolved as a society to such a point that a Hispanic cartoon handyman can be as horribly boring as his lilly-white counterpart. The pre-school Disney Channel DVD, Handy Manny: Fixing it Right, stars Wilmer Valderrama as the voice of the titular handyman. His Manny works with a box of living tools with eyes and faces. The tools have distinct personalities and travel with Manny on his jobs.
Each story is about 13 minutes long and focuses on teamwork and creative problem solving. The target audience is pre-school children, so there isn’t much to the stories other than basic messages of facing your fears, being kind, asking questions, and the like. The tools all have names but they more often than not are just “the grumpy one,” “the excited one,” “the fraidy cat one.” Usually, their problem or story revolves around some event directly related to their dominant personality trait. In other words, this is standard kid animation fodder.
The big difference with this DVD is that Manny is Hispanic. He often speaks in simple Spanish phrases, but is nice enough to say the English translation right after. So, he’ll answer the phone saying “hola,” but will then immediately say “hello” also. Once you get past that one twist, everything else about the show falls into line with recent computer animated pre-school shows like Bob the Builder or Dora the Explorer.
As is the case with Little Einsteins, another Disney Channel computer animated show, the animation quality is awful. Everything is very basic from character design to simplistic movement. There is nothing visually appealing to watch and typically only the main character is moving, making the whole thing look very cheap.
There isn’t too much to say about Handy Manny and his adventures. If you are over six years old, you will have no interest in these simplistic stories told with crummy animation. If you are under six, you can see the episodes for free on the Disney Channel every weekday. Why would anyone buy this? It’s tough to write anything about the Handy Manny: Fixing it Right DVD. There is only one extra unless you count previews; I don’t. Unlike some of the other pre-school shows on TV, Handy Manny is shown in 12-minute episodes so two are typically shown in one half-hour block. On this DVD, there are 5 episodes, so the whole DVD is just 58 minutes. Even crappy entertainment should be longer than 58 minutes unless they are charging about five bucks for the DVD, and I’m sure they aren’t.
The only extra on the DVD is a game called “Fix it With Handy Manny.” The viewer has to decide what tool is needed for the job shown on the screen. That means if you want to cut a piece of wood, you have to know that you need a saw. That’s about it. Once you choose the right tool, you have to click on some parts of Manny’s house to find it and then you move onto the next tool. Sounds like a good time.
There is really no reason to purchase this DVD. The stories are simple and done better in other children’s cartoons and the animation is boring. If you have a DVR, just record the shows off the television and keep your money in your wallet.
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