Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Good Indiana Jones Ornament, "Surrounded By Snakes" Pleases In 2010!

The Good: Good sculpt, Generally good detailing, Good balance, Nice sound function.
The Bad: No light effect.
The Basics: A surprisingly cool ornament, the “Surrounded By Snakes” ornament is well-balanced and detailed making many an Indiana Jones fan happy!

It always fascinates me which properties get picked up for licensing and I’ll admit I was surprised last year when I found that there was an Indiana Jones line of Hallmark ornaments with the “Retrieving The Idol” ornament (click here for that review!). Last year, I wrote the merchandising off more as a fluke than anything else. I truly shouldn't have been surprised that for 2010 the line would be continued with “Surrounded By Snakes.” Yet, I was. Fortunately, the surprise was not entirely unpleasant: the new ornament is actually quite nice and improves upon last year's, though it is still not at all flawless.

For those unfamiliar with the film, Raiders Of The Lost Ark (click here for the film review!) features a protagonist who is afraid of snakes. As Indiana Jones searches for the Ark of the Covenant, he becomes trapped inside the Well Of The Souls, which is filled with snakes.

It is Indiana Jones, torches in hand, squaring off with a cobra that is the subject of the "Surrounded By Snakes" Hallmark Ornament. To add extra value to this one, Hallmark provided this ornament with a pretty decent sound chip.


The "Surrounded By Snakes" ornament recreates the moment Indiana Jones stood up and backed away from the venomous cobra that was trapped in the darkness with him. The ornament includes the cobra, Indiana Jones and a small patch of ground all cast in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2010, is a mixed bag as it has a very cool and accurate sculpt, but lacks a light effect to truly sell the ornament as “magical.” The detailing is far better than the previous year's ornament on both the snake and the Indiana Jones character on the ornament.

Hallmark clearly made an effort on Indiana Jones as he has decent detailing like the buckle on his hat and on his belt. His eyes are appropriately detailed, so he doesn't look like he has beady little dots or an animated look. This year, Hallmark made an effort to make Indiana Jones’s skin look more tan and that works wonderfully for the character and the ornament. Measuring eleven and a half centimeters tall with a base that is ten and a half centimeters in diameter, the "Surrounded By Snakes" ornament is one of the larger Hallmark ornaments this year and with the sound feature, it seems reasonably priced at $18.95.

The Hallmark "Surrounded By Snakes" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Indiana Jones backing away from snakes on the ground which are rising to menace him. With his torches and a scared expression, the ornament captures the moment from the film remarkably well. The ground and snakes are detailed quite nicely and the torches in Indiana Jones’s hands are molded with a translucent orange plastic, insinuating there is a light effect which will illuminate them. Sadly, there is not. This ornament features a battery to power the sound effects.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Surrounded By Snakes" has a sound effect, but no light effect. On the base, there is a well-concealed button. The button, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains two different sound clips from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The first clip is the Raiders Of The Lost Ark theme and it plays for several seconds. The music is instantly recognizable and bound to thrill fans of the Indiana Jones saga. There is also a quote which begins with “Snakes . . .why’d it have to be snakes?” which is amusing and appears to use a clip directly from the film with Harrison Ford’s voice.

Because the torches are translucent, the buyer does feel cheated that there is no light effect with this ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Surrounded By Snakes" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate movie nostalgia Christmas Tree, the "Surrounded By Snakes" ornament is a surprisingly affordable option that can only enhance the tree of those who like a lot of sounds and interesting visuals. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Indiana Jones's hat. This is fairly unobtrusive and necessary for the ornament. Lighter than last year's Indiana Jones ornament, this ornament has excellent balance. Hung properly the base will be level and thus the ornament hangs looking appropriately oriented.


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!). Within a few years, Lucasfilm jumped on the bandwagon and began merchandising "Star Wars" in the Christmas ornaments. "Surrounded By Snakes" is one of only a few Indiana Jones ornaments on the market. Harrison Ford fans and fans of the Indiana Jones movies seem to be surprisingly lukewarm to the "Surrounded By Snakes" ornament, though this does appear to be selling better than last year's Indiana Jones ornament. Despite that, this seems to be more than adequately produced and is not likely to be a great investment piece.


Fans of the Indiana Jones franchise, Harrison Ford, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to like “Surrounded By Snakes,” even if its construction insinuates a light effect that it does not actually possess. Worthwhile for the sound effect, this might be a great ornament to pick up after the holidays when they are being clearance.

For other Hallmark ornaments reviewed by me, please check out my reviews of:
2010 "The Pensieve" Harry Potter ornament
2005 Princess Leia As Jabba's Prisoner ornament
2010 Defender Of Justice Iron Man 2 ornament


For other ornament reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

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