Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Disappointingly Animated In Appearance Ornament: The Star Trek "Mirror, Mirror" 2011 Ornament Disappoints.

The Good: Interesting concept, The sound clip, Good balance, Painted details.
The Bad: Not a great likeness of characters, Expensive for the quality, No light effect
The Basics: A disappointing ornament that makes Spock and McCoy look more like animated characters, the 2011 "Mirror, Mirror" ornament is a bit of a letdown.

As much as I like the Hallmark ornaments, it does seem as if the company has a real tough time getting the detailing right on most of their character ornaments, especially when the characters are part of a diorama. So, for example, with the 2011 Legends Of Star Trek Spock ornament (reviewed here!), I found myself seriously disappointed by the lack of accuracy of both the sculpt and the coloring for the character. Adding Spock to a diorama for the 2011 "Mirror, Mirror" ornament yields mixed results and it is mostly the features that bring this ornament up to a below average rating.

For those unfamiliar with the episode, "Mirror, Mirror" (click here for that review!) featured a few members of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew visiting an alternate universe where everyone had savage alter-egos. Recognizable characters were cold and calculating and the storm that brought Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura to the alternate universe was fading, so they had to try to replicate the transporter accident that brought them there. Spock, having been subdued in a fight, suspected Kirk and the landing party were not quite right when Kirk showed mercy to the planet they were orbiting, in defiance of Imperial orders. McCoy, in an act of compassion, waited behind in Sickbay to save Spock's life, a move which led the alternate-universe Spock to mind-meld with him.

It is Spock pressing a shocked Dr. McCoy up against the wall to mind-meld with him that is the subject of the "Mirror, Mirror" Hallmark Ornament. To add extra value to this one, Hallmark provided this ornament with a decent sound chip that plays a few sound clips from the scene.


The "Mirror, Mirror" ornament recreates the moment Spock begins the mind-meld with a wide-eyed McCoy. The ornament recreates the scene with a portion of Sickbay wall (featuring the control panel there), the alternate universe Spock and McCoy with a portion of the floor. The ornament, released in 2011, is a mixed bag as it has some interesting features and detailing, but the characters lack realistic detailing and shading.

Still, Hallmark clearly made an effort on the characters in some ways as they are detailed with accurate rank insignia and division badges, with the Mirror Universe logos. Measuring four and three-quarters inches tall, two and three-quarters inches wide and two inches deep, the "Mirror, Mirror" ornament is one of the larger Star Trek diorama ornaments and with the sound feature, it commanded a $29.95 price when it was originally released.

The Hallmark "Mirror, Mirror" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the the two officers facing one another. The sculpts are clearly of Spock and McCoy, as Spock has the pointed ears distinctive of his character and the goatee emblematic of his alternate-universe self. The sculptors got details like the gold lame belts worn by the characters right as well. The alternate Spock even has his knife on his belt!

Beyond that, the ornament is problematic. Spock's face is not quite angular enough and McCoy is so underdetailed that his round head looks like he could be a bleached version of Sulu, were it not for the blue uniform! Details like Spock's eyes having simple black dots in a field of white make them look more like animated characters than realistic ones, just as McCoy's pupils are tiny black points in a large field of blue. And while the badges and the control panel on the wall behind McCoy have enough detailing, neither character has anything remotely like realistic shading or skin tones for their faces and hands. Their hair is also monotonally rendered.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Mirror, Mirror" could have both a light effect and a sound effect, but this one only has a sound effect. That may irk some fans who have paid less in the past for ornaments that have both. The "Mirror, Mirror" ornament is battery-operated and it comes with the batteries needed to run it. In fact, why Hallmark didn't light some of the buttons on the panel behind McCoy is a bit of a mystery.

The button, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains three different clips from "Mirror, Mirror." Rather extraordinarily, the chip has several seconds of dialogue between Spock and McCoy and hearing the mind-meld begin is pretty cool.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Mirror, Mirror" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "Mirror, Mirror" ornament is a high-priced option that is a tough sell, despite the sound chip. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the wall. This is fairly obvious, but necessary for the ornament. Hanging from that loop, the ornament is exceptionally well-balanced, with the floor hanging perfectly level to the ground.


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. The "Mirror, Mirror" ornament has been bought more by fans so far, but not by the public at large. It is very esoteric and designed to appeal to fans of Trek as opposed to Christmas enthusiasts. Judging by the lack of presence of the ornaments at this year's Las Vegas convention, the relative expense of this ornament makes it a bit stifling for those who are only casual fans or for those looking for a decent investment piece. It is likely this was so mass produced that fans will be able to find it cheaper after the holidays.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, "Mirror, Mirror," and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be split on this ornament, because it is a good idea with a remarkably mediocre execution. I'd advise waiting and trying to get it cheaper later on as opposed to buying it full-price now.

For other Star Trek diorama Hallmark ornaments reviews, please check out my reviews of:
2010 "Amok Time" ornament
2009 "The Menagerie" ornament
2004 "The City On The Edge Of Forever" ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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