The Good: Collectible, Well-balanced, Good casting of the character, Decent coloring detail.
The Bad: No special features
The Basics: Despite how jaded I was when I first heard it was announced, the 2011 Thor Hallmark ornament is actually pretty cool.
As much as I love both superhero movies (and, honestly, the swag that comes with them), I have been strangely down on Hallmark for exploiting the superhero film market the way toy makers and the like do (and I, oddly, have no problem with). Last year, Hallmark managed to impress me - despite this feeling they were simply exploiting Summer Blockbuster Season - by producing the Iron Man ornament (reviewed here!). I've reviewed very few other Hallmark ornaments of superheroes - only the 2009 Wonder Woman ornament and the 2011 limited edition Harley Quinn ornament - because I've been afraid that I would bias my reviews with feelings about how Hallmark tailors the ornament releases to coincide with the movie releases. But with the 2011 Thor Hallmark ornament, I couldn't resist.
Thor is a common-release, mass-produced Hallmark ornament that is one of the four Marvel comics ornaments produced by Hallmark this year. Sure, it's designed to coincide with the theatrical and DVD release of Thor (reviewed here!), but it is based on the comic book version of the character. There was nothing stopping Hallmark from releasing the ornament years ago, but they saved it for a year when more of the public might actually care about this particular superhero. To prep for next year's The Amazing Spider-Man, they were sure to release a new Spider-Man ornament (though, to be fair, they have released a new Spider-Man ornament every year since 2005, at least, and had one from 1996, getting on the gravy train early). So, there it is; I can't gripe any more because the Thor ornament is actually pretty awesome.
The Thor ornament recreates the godly hero in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2011, is an impressive recreation of the heroic character as he appears in the comic books, not the cinematic rendition of Thor. That said, there is a certain amount of underdetailing that is to be expected as a result, but I still felt that Hallmark could have done a little richer work on the fleshtones. Outside that, the ornament is incredible.
Thor is the blonde warrior of Asgard with his powerful hammer raised in an action pose. Thor is posed with his oversized hammer raised and his legs in a mid-leap/flying pose. The ornament, like the character, is dominated by red, black and silver, with limited fleshtones. Thor is armored with his legs and arms covered in what appears to be chain mail. The sculptors finely detailed the ornament so that the armor has a texture to it, not just random black lines creating a grid on the ornaments appendages. The back of the ornament is dominated by the vivid red cape that hangs from the character's shoulders with a slight bounce, creating a sense of surprisingly realistic physics for the ornament. This is a nice detail for the ornament.
It is almost enough to make it worth the $14.95 original issue price. For an ornament without any sound chip or light function, this still seems a little high for me. The Hallmark Thor ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him in an action pose, so those inclined to set the ornament on a desk or the like will find it cannot stand up. This Thor ornament measures out at 4" tall, 3" wide and 3 1/4" deep.
Thor is detailed exceptionally in the body and on the costume. Thor looks like he does in the comics, with the tiny wings on his helmet and detailing on his armor. What doesn't work for me is the jawline and the eyes. The eyes are appropriately blue (he's Marvel's Norse god, after all), but the jawline is not sculpted as severe enough for those who have seen a number of Thor comics. Combined with skintones that are a bit too light, the face seems just a little off. Perhaps this is because the ornament is so detailed and color-rich on the costume; the lack of detailing or even remotely real pigmentation to the face and hands stands out, making those aspects look like a cartoon on a live-action body.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Thor could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for those who might not want to shell out for the more expensive ornaments. This Thor simply hangs.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Thor ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Marvel Universe Christmas Tree, Thor is essential. Thor has been around for decades and has carried numerous side-projects in addition to the standard Thor comic line. The ornament has a brass hook loop embedded in it. From that hook, the Thor ornament hangs perfectly balanced. The ornament sways when rocked, but otherwise sits stable in the right position, looking like Thor is soaring!
Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for my review of that!). Since then, Hallmark has gotten into every major franchise from Disney to Twilight to the Marvel Comics universe. The Thor ornament was not at all limited and I was shocked to discover people online trying to sell it for more than release price when it is still readily available. One might suspect that the price will spike around the DVD's release, as demand spikes, but then the value should settle around the release price. I would not bet, given how the other Marvel ornaments have met demand without leaving a lot of people wanting, that this will not be an incredible investment piece.
I was not prepared to like the Thor ornament, but this one actually is pretty decent and illustrates what Hallmark can do in terms of detailing, at least as far as the sculpting and coloring details go for the non-human aspects. I suspect Thor and Thor fans will enjoy this keepsake, but it ought to remain available at the release price given how common it is.
For other 2011 Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
Bella, Edward and Jacob Eclipse ornament
Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates Of The Caribbean ornament
Fleeing The Fiendfyre Harry Potter ornament
For other ornament and toy reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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