Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The 2010 The Empire Strikes Back Luke Skywalker Ornament Is A Worthy Tribute To Irvin Kershner!

The Good: Good balance, Surprisingly good detailing on the costume, Fair price
The Bad: The face detailing and coloring is a bit off.
The Basics: The 2010 Luke Skywalker in X-wing pilot jumpsuit ornament is well-balanced, inexpensive and well-detailed, except on the face, which makes it a good holiday ornament!

Yesterday, a titan of cinema died. If not a titan of cinema, director Irvin Kershner was at the very least one of the few directors who can boast directing a perfect film. As this is the 30th anniversary of that film, The Empire Strikes Back, there is something of a bittersweet quality as I consider the Luke Skywalker, 2010, Hallmark ornament. As much a tribute to the anniversary of the film, Kershner's classic hero's journey tale is immortalized in so many different things that it is easy to now consider them and to write about them is a tribute to Kershner.

Luke Skywalker is the standard-release Star Wars Hallmark character ornament, and it is the fourteenth in an ongoing series. Released in 2010, this has been easily available and one suspects that even with the anniversary and Kershner's death, it shall continue to be generally well-available.

Hallmark Keepsake has a line of collectible ornaments from major franchises, like Star Wars and Star Trek. From the Star Wars line comes the Luke Skywalker in X-wing pilot outfit ornament. Fans of the Star Wars Trilogy will easily recall Luke Skywalker. For those unfamiliar with Luke Skywalker in his X-wing pilot outfit, on the frozen planet of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back (click here for my review of the film!), he flew a snowspeeder to try to take out the Imperial Walkers. Because his helmet is off and he has his blaster drawn, it is easy to suspect that this ornament is intended to be from Luke's arrival on Dagobah, where he met Yoda, the Jedi master. Hallmark has Luke rendered in his bright orange flight suit, but without his helmet.


The Luke Skywalker X-Wing pilot ornament recreates the Jedi-in-training in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2010, is the mostly-recognizable hero with his blaster pistol drawn! The only skin that is visible on the ornament is on the face, below the wet-looking, matted hair on his head and the neck above his flightsuit. This, unfortunately, leads to the only drawback of the ornament, which is that the sculpt of Luke's face is a bit off, making him look more like a gorilla than like Luke Skywalker. I know the Wampa creature beat Luke up, but he didn't look like this on Dagobah. Moreover, the skin tones are monotonal and as such have a less realistic appearance to them.

That said, the rest of the ornament was rendered exactly right. Luke in his jumpsuit is just over 4 1/8" tall, 2" wide and 1 5/8" deep. Hallmark charged $14.95 for the ornament originally and it has sold fairly coolly at that price, with most on-line vendors not jacking the price up much beyond that as a result. Given that the ornament was designed for fans, this is an ornament that appeals to collectors and Luke Skywalker is easily recognizable to them.

The Hallmark Luke Skywalker as X-Wing Pilot ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him holding a rebel blaster pistol in one hand at the ready and his other hand is somewhat open, his arm half-raised. His feet are arranged in an action pose, spread wide with his body half-turned, as if he were caught off-guard, just like the precise moment he draws his gun on the swamp when R2-D2 disappears into it.

Luke Skywalker is detailed exceptionally in the body, in the firearm and on the costume. The orange and white outfit is rendered precisely and the black boots stand out next to the bright orange of the flightsuit. One of the costume details that Hallmark got very right was making the white of the straps look weathered and dirty. It was a long flight from Hoth and what is supposed to be fabric looks worn and unclean!  As well, his hair looks anything but helmet-like, looking frumpy and wet as he would early in his Dagobah experience!  Kudos to Hallmark for getting that right. Similarly, the blaster pistol is not a monotonal black. Instead, it too, is colored to look weathered and somewhat worn.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Luke Skywalker 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 vehicle or diorama series' of Star Wars ornaments. This is Luke Skywalker and he simply hangs on the tree. Luke Skywalker's gun may not be removed from his hand and there are no additional weapons or accessories for the ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Luke Skywalker X-wing pilot ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, Luke Skywalker is essential and this one is as good as any. Truth be told, I have not reviewed either of the other two Hallmark Luke Skywalker ornaments that I know exist so I shall refrain from the comparison until I can track them down. Either way, this ornament has a brass hook loop embedded into the top center, slightly back, of the character's skull. From that hook, the Luke Skywalker ornament hangs balanced. It is impressive and the ornament sways when rocked, but otherwise sits stable in the right position!


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 one!). Since then, they have branched out into other popular franchises like Star Wars and The Wizard Of Oz. The Luke Skywalker ornament is not at all limited and has not appreciated in the secondary market yet, which makes sense because many Hallmark stores still have him on their shelves. At this point in the Star Wars ornament collections, the primary characters have all been done and there are at least two other Luke Skywalker ornaments to choose from. Luke Skywalker was mass produced in 2010, though the exact numbers have not been released, making it a very common one on the market today.

One suspects with the sheer volume of Luke Skywalker merchandise available that the 2010 Luke Skywalker Hallmark ornament might be better for fans who want it for display than investors looking to turn a buck later on.


Like most Star Wars ornaments, Luke Skywalker has nothing to do with the Christmas holiday, but the ornament gets high marks for balance and costume detailing, even if the face is not quite right. Still, it is pretty easy to recommend as a holiday ornament, especially fans of The Empire Strikes Back looking to get something for the 30th Anniversary or in honor of Irvin Kershner.

For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars characters, please check out my reviews of:
2010 Lando Calrissian Limited Edition ornament
2009 Greedo Limited Edition ornament
2009 Han Solo As Stormtrooper
2008 Emperor Palpatine ornament
2005 Slave Leia ornament
1999 Max Rebo Band mini-ornament set


For other holiday ornaments, please check out the index page!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment