12 July 2011

2011 Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

If you're like me, first of all, I'm sorry.  Secondly, you're probably oblivious to the fact that the Hallmark Keepsake ornaments begin debuting in July.  Many (most?) ornaments won't hit stores until October, but the first wave will premiere this weekend in a two-day event.  The premiere is important to collectors because Hallmark has a handful of ornaments each year that are only sold during this event.  I'm not going to walk you through each and every ornament in this year's lineup (you can go to their website for that), but I am going to spotlight the ones that caught my attention.

Bossk, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Limited Quantity
Sculpted by Robert Hurlburt * July

Bossk here stands 4.5" tall and is one of the aforementioned ornaments sold only during the premiere event.

Darth Vader, LEGO Star Wars
Sculpted by Orville Wilson * $14.95 * October
There are a pair of other Star Wars ornaments this year, including Jedi Master Yoda, Slave 1 and Showdown in the Cantina, but for my money LEGO Darth Vader takes the cake.  I love the LEGO Star Wars aesthetic and even though I haven't bought the toys, I love the video games.  I hope this becomes an ongoing series.  I'd love a LEGO Count Dooku and I know my wife would go gaga over a LEGO Jango Fett.  Yeah, that's right: our two most desired LEGO ornaments would be prequel characters.  Believe me, I'm as surprised as you are.  (My wife would probably go even crazier for a LEGO Wampa, though.)

1966 Batmobile, Batman
Sculpted by Steve Goslin * $17.95 * July

I don't care what any of the "Batman should be gritty" crowd says.  I'm in love with the 1966 designs, from the colorful costumes to the outrageous sets to the iconic vehicles.  My favorite Batmobile is still the 1989 movie design, but this is probably second.  Bonus: it plays the original TV theme song composed by Neil Hefti!

Where Everybody Knows Your Name, Cheers
Sculpted by Tom Best * $17.95 * October

Yes, it plays the original TV theme song, performed by co-writer Gary Portnoy.  And yes, we can only hope this means that one day we'll get a Norm in Toga ornament.

Indy in Action, Indiana Jones
Sculpted by Kristina Gaughran * $14.95 * July

Not gonna lie: this isn't the most exciting Indy ornament, though sculptor Kristina Gaughran seems to have really nailed Harrison Ford's likeness.  I'd be more interested in a LEGO Indy, but I still don't have any Indy ornament so this caught my eye.  It's a little low on my Wish List, though.

Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Sculpted by Kristina Gaughran * $14.95 * July

Also by Gaughran comes this pretty dynamic Captain Jack Sparrow.  I think her Harrison Ford is better than her Johnny Depp, but there's no mistaking the character.  Depending on how you arrange your tree, it could easily appear that Captain Jack is pursuing Indy.

Green Lantern
$14.95 * July

A Hal Jordan ornament?  Yes, please!  I really like this pose, though part of me wishes that it featured some kind of ring projection.  Curiously, there are no ornaments based on this year's live action movie so anyone who hoped they could stare into Ryan Reynolds's dreamy eyes will have to wait.  My only complaint is that this isn't quite the original Gil Kane design, where the green portion came all the way down into the pelvic region.  Yeah, DC.  By not showing underwear outside their pants you've definitely changed the public's perception about superheroes.  Whatever.

Love Is in Zee Air, Looney Tunes
Sculpted by Tammy Haddix * $14.95 * July

This is one of four Looney Tunes ornaments, and far and away my favorite.  Firstly, it's a terrific sculpt and quite unique.  Secondly, how many Pepe Lepew ornaments have there ever been?  And this one features him as he sees himself: the suave Don Juan about to steal ze heart of ze girl.  Perfect.

Marvin the Martian, Looney Tunes
Sculpted by Robert Chad * $12.95 * July

I favor "Love Is in Zee Air" as an ornament, but Marvin is a particularly nice ornament and my wife's favorite character so I would be remiss not to showcase him.

Up, Disney/Pixar Legends Series
$17.95 * July

The likenesses look a tad off, but this might be the quality of the photograph, or it could be based on an earlier sculpt.  In any event, I'm very surprised that they elected to inaugurate their Disney/Pixar Legends Series with Up (though there are numerous other Disney and Pixar ornaments offered this year).  Who doesn't want Ed Asner on their tree?  Still, $18 is awfully steep for an ornament that the website says measures 2.5" x 3" x 2".  This one is just above "Indy in Action" on my Wish List.

Romulan Bird-of-Prey, Star Trek
Sculpted by Lynn Norton * $32.95 * July

There are three Star Trek ornaments this year, all based on the original television series (the others are Spock and a "Mirror, Mirror" diorama featuring Goateed Mirror Spock choking out Dr. McCoy).  Just as with the 1966 Batman, I'm entirely in love with the original Star Trek TV show aesthetic and this is one of my personal favorite designs.  The forward parts of the nacelles (the blue parts) light up, as does the conspicuous set of three gold dots in the center of the saucer.  I really like the look of this one, but honestly I don't see me dropping $33 on this ornament, this year.  Someone should, though.

Beaker's "Ode to Joy," The Muppets
Sculpted by Ken Crow * $19.95 * July

You may recall a former classmate of mine once insisted I reminded him of this particular Muppet, so I was particularly amused to discover that someone decided that Beaker alone would represent the Muppets on our Christmas trees this year.  This is made all the more impressive when you realize The Muppets opens the night before Thanksgiving.  As my classmate once shouted, "Go, Beaker!"  Bonus: plays sound clip of Beaker singing "Ode to Joy."

Bella, Edward and Jacob, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
$19.95 * July

I have no interest in this, but I'm certain my wife will.  As will her girlfriends.  And my cousin.  And my cousin's girlfriends.  And scores of other girls and women.  It's hard to appraise this ornament from this photo; the trio are recognizable, but the faces don't look particularly good.  That said, I dig the expression on Edward's face.  I can't tell if he just thinks it's a joke that a soulless vampire would be a Christmas ornament, or if he's just checking out Bella's backside.  Either way, it's one of the nicest little touches of any of this year's ornaments.

Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz
$17.95 * July

There have been countless Wizard of Oz ornaments (there are three others this year alone, including one at the premiere event), but I thought this one looked particularly nice.  The likeness of Margaret Hamilton is spot-on, the pose is dynamic without being ridiculous and the dress and cloak look great.  For another $17.95 you can get Glinda, the Good Witch (though the image shown in the photograph is nowhere near as well sculpted as this Wicked Witch).  I'll probably pass on this unless there are discounted leftovers after Christmas, but I thought she was worth spotlighting for those of you Oz collectors and aficionados who might find this kind of information helpful.

Gizmo, Gremlins
Sculpted by Tracy Larsen * $12.95 * October

Is that not afreakingdorable?!  This might be the coolest ornament Hallmark will release in all of 2011, honestly, and at $12.95 it's one of the cheapest.  Anything else I might say is rendered superfluous by that photo.

I'd like to have just about everything I've showcased here, as well as several others that I have only mentioned, but the truth is I'll forget about these until some time in December by which point the ones I want will be sold out (except the expensive ones I won't want to buy until after Christmas anyway).  My game plan is to snag a Green Lantern up front and then hope that I can find the rest after Christmas on sale.  That's how I got last year's Captain Kirk ornament for $4 and change...though I missed the U.S.S. Enterprise I really wanted.

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