Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Poor Rendering Of The Iconic "Edward And Bella" Makes Hallmark's 2010 Ornament Flop!

The Good: Great balance
The Bad: Animated look, Terrible rendering of Bella, Under-detailed, Seems expensive.
The Basics: A poorly-detailed, overly-expensive ornament, "Edward And Bella" is a Hallmark ornament that deserves to be avoided by serious fans of Twilight or Hallmark ornaments.

With the latest installment of the cinematic Twilight Saga exploding on movie screens everywhere - when I originally wrote this, Eclipse was still the highest-grossing movie of the week - I have been reviewing a lot of Twilight merchandise of late. The truth is, I have generally enjoyed the Saga so far and I have been fascinated by the merchandising of it. There are so few genre works that appeal to young women that watching companies adapt to exploit the crowd to increase their revenues has been interesting. Unfortunately, not every attempt at picking up the market deserves to succeed. The new Hallmark Edward And Bella ornament is one that deserves to fail.

It is worth noting at the outset that I have no delusions that my words will actually make that happen. Twi-hards are so hard up for merchandise that they tend to buy whatever comes out. There have been remarkably few failures on the part of the Twilight merchandising division that I have serious doubts that the new Hallmark ornament is going to be one of the first. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it won't be a failure because of the target demographic. As Kristen Stewart noted during a Jimmy Kimmel Live interview, there is no "Team Bella." The fact that Bella is the weakest part of the "Edward And Bella" ornament does not mean that the underdetailed ornament will be the flop it objectively ought to be.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, “Edward And Bella” is a holiday ornament that features the promotional artwork from the cinematic Twilight (please check out my review by clicking here!). Edward holds Bella from behind as he did on many of the movie posters. That generic Twilight image that is not scene-specific is the subject of the “Edward And Bella” ornament.


“Edward And Bella” features Edward Cullen in his button-down shirt standing behind Bella Swan, both of them looking out from the Christmas tree. The ornament, released in 2010, is a sadly poor ornament that is overly expensive for such an ornament and is bound to disappoint those looking for realism in their character ornaments. Bella, notably, looks nothing like actress Kristen Stewart. Her face lacks the angles and jawline of Stewart. Both characters lack realistic shading and depth to their skin tones. While this might be acceptable for Edward, whatwith him being a vampire, Hallmark has his skin tones more creamy than white and he looks like he drank bad egg nog.

Both Edward and Bella have animated looks to them, especially in their eyes which are not painted with the greatest detailing. Instead, Edward and Bella stand there with lifeless eyes freaking out those looking at the Christmas tree. To be fair to Hallmark, Edward's spiky hair is difficult to render and they got it looking almost like he was not wearing a strange helmet (almost, but not quite). Bella's hair, however, is down and frames her face awkwardly, accenting the strangely pudgy cheeks of this sculpt.

Measuring 4 1/8" tall, 1 3/8" wide and 1 1/4" deep, the “Edward And Bella” ornament has not been flying off the shelves locally. This is no surprise for me as the ornament has a fairly hefty price tag of $14.95 (which is a lot for a character-only ornament).


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, “Edward And Bella” could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament that captures the two lead characters from the film without any embellishments.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake “Edward And Bella” ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate fantasy Christmas Tree, the “Edward And Bella” ornament is a poor addition. The poor rendering is likely to stand out next to other, better characters who were rendered with more details. The ornament has a brass hook loop that comes out of the top Edward's hair. This is remarkably stable and the characters hang perfectly perpendicular to the ground when hung properly! The ornament only sways when it (or the tree) is bumped. “Edward And Bella” ornament is exceptionally well-balanced.


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. Since then, they have delved into virtually every other collectible franchise in an attempt to cash in on every major license, like Indiana Jones, Marvel Comics and now Twilight. While Twi-hards might buy this up now, one suspects this will be one of the first pieces of merchandise dumped when a better version is later made. As I am not eager to predict how badly the Twilight bubble will pop when it does pop, I'm not going to hazard an estimate on the collectible value of this ornament.


Even with excellent balance, the "Edward And Bella" ornament is still a massive failure and fans of the Twilight Saga would do well to pass it by until Hallmark makes a vastly better sculpt of the famous couple.


For other toys and ornaments, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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