Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Surprisingly Strong (If Expensive) Ornament: "Amok Time!"

The Good: Iconic moment, Iconic music, Generally good sculpt
The Bad: Spock doesn't look quite right, Expensive.
The Basics: A great ornament, though a little expensive, “Amok Time” recreates a seminal Star Trek moment for an ornament!

Prices go up on virtually everything, I know that. Still, it seems like the new Hallmark ornaments are pretty pricey, even the ones that do a lot. I'm a fan of the Hallmark ornaments and I am usually impressed by the sound and light functions they possess, but with the average price for their major license ornaments (Star Trek, Star Wars, Peanuts, etc.) being in the range of $28.95 for the sound and light ornaments, I'm finding myself glad I have five months to make the money to get all the ornaments I might want! One of the more inspired and better-rendered ornaments this Christmas season comes in the Star Trek line with Hallmark's “Amok Time” ornament.

For those unfamiliar with the episode, "Amok Time" (click here for my review of the episode!), tells the story of Spock's desperate attempt to return to Vulcan to mate (and hey, wouldn't that make for a great plot point in the new movie, considering there is no more Vulcan?!). The Enterprise has an ambassadorial function it must attend, but Spock's mating drive is so strong, he reroutes the Enterprise toward Vulcan and Dr. McCoy informs Kirk that Spock will die if he does not return home. But once on Vulcan, Spock's betrothed, T'Pring chooses Captain Kirk as her champion and forces a fight to the death between Kirk and Spock!

It is Kirk and Spock squaring off with one another on the Vulcan sand, lirpa in their hands that is the subject of the "Amok Time" Hallmark Ornament. To add extra value to this one, Hallmark provided this ornament with an awesome sound chip.


The "Amok Time" ornament recreates the moment Kirk and Spock are engaged in the combat with the weighted blades on Vulcan and it is a pretty iconic moment of Star Trek. The ornament, released in 2010, is one of the best renderings of Captain Kirk in ornament form. The ornament has great details for the lirpa, but Spock is unfortunately animated in his appearance. Hallmark makes up for that with a great sound chip that is likely to please most fans.

Hallmark clearly made an effort on the characters as the people on this ornament are detailed with accurate rank insignia and division badges. Measuring eleven centimeters tall, nine centimeters wide and ten centimeters deep, the "Amok Time" ornament is a larger Star Trek ornament and with the sound feature, it is one of the more pricey ones in the collection with an original issue price of $28.95.

The Hallmark "Amok Time" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the two officers facing one another with Kirk and Spock standing on the surface of Vulcan. The ground is nicely detailed to look textured and like sand, which is pretty impressive in this scale. The bright yellow and blue of Kirk and Spock's shirts are nicely contrasting the metallic lirpa in Kirk and Spock's hands.

Kirk's detailing is immaculate. He looks just like William Shatner from “Amok Time” and Hallmark even managed to get the tiny eyes right on the ornament. Sadly, Spock is another matter. There is no realism to the flesh color on Spock and he lacks the angular face of Leonard Nimoy, giving Spock an annoyingly animated look to him. That said, the lirpa are so well detailed, the blades appear to have rust or blood on them and that level of attention to detail makes this ornament a real winner! And Hallmark was attentive enough to include the belt on Spock that he wore just for the fight.

This ornament remains fairly easy to find as it was just released, but this is likely to explode in value in the secondary market. If fans aren't able to get these before Hallmark sells out or has to clearance it, this has all the makings of an ornament that will appreciate in the secondary market.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Amok Time" has only a sound effect. This ornament operates on an independent battery so one does not need to position it near a light strand on their tree. Because there is no special light function in the scene, it makes perfect sense that there is no light effect on the “Amok Time” ornament.

On the Vulcan ground, there is a small button that, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains the music from the battle scene in “Amok Time.” Over twenty seconds of music play and this theme is one of the most recognizable music pieces from Star Trek. In fact, it is the exact music clip that was used in Family Guy, so not just Trekkers are likely to get the reference!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Amok Time" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "Amok Time" ornament is a high priced option, but most fans will (truthfully) want it. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of Spock's head. This is fairly obtrusive, though it is necessary for the ornament.

Despite the loop's position, this is an amazingly well-balanced ornament. It hangs level, so the ground of Vulcan is flat and one has a great perspective of the conflict. The balance being this good is uncommon for this type of Hallmark ornament, so Hallmark is clearly learning from their past missteps in some of their bigger ornaments!


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 that review!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all of the major starships and many of the characters from the franchise and they have all been more mass produced than that first one. "Amok Time" ornament has been selling steadily since and this might be one of the Star Trek ornaments that makes great crossover appeal to the public at large. Most fans bought it early and while serious investors might be hoping to get them on clearance, it is doubtful this one will still be available after the holiday!


One of the best Star Trek ornaments in years, the “Amok Time” ornament would have been perfect if only Hallmark had managed to get Spock looking right!

For other Star Trek Hallmark ornaments reviewed by me, please check out my reviews of:
2010 Legends Of Star Trek Captain Kirk
2009 "The Menagerie" ornament
2005 Khan


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page!

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