Handbrake, or the variant of Handbrake that I use, called Vidcoder, can be set to much faster encoding if you wish.
The easiest way to do this is to import your DVD, then go the video settings and select the Very Fast 480p 30 preset. You should also click on the button that says Constant Framerate, and click on Fast Decode.
Since you are starting with DVD resolution, there is no point in going past 480p in your MP4. So don’t use 720p or 1080p when converting from DVD video.