Saturday, July 21, 2012

One Of The Biggest Ornament Duds Of 2012 Is The Brave Merida Oranament!

The Good: Good hair coloring, Fair sculpt
The Bad: No freckles, Lack of details, Balance issue
The Basics: The 2012 "Merida" from Brave ornament is one of the worst Disney-themed Hallmark ornaments I’ve ever seen!

Nobody loves learning that a franchise they love has created merchandise that is crap. Sometimes, there is no other way to say it. I’ve taken a lot of flack in the past for posting a negative review of an ornament that objectively did not measure up, like last year when I panned the Harry Potter Fleeing The Fiendfyre ornament (that review is here!). Rumor is that Disney fans are even more protective (which surprises me because there is so much merchandise from Disney; do fans honestly expect the company can churn out so much stuff without some of it being lame?!), which I suppose I shall discover with reactions to this, my review of Merida, the 2012 Hallmark ornament from Brave.

Merida is a cheap Hallmark ornament and I do not use the word “cheap” lightly. It is important to distinguish immediately the difference between “cheap” and “inexpensive.” I am a champion of the inexpensive, items that are of sufficient quality that buying them at a certain price is a value. Cheap items are poorly made and can be overpriced. Unfortunately for Joanne Eschrich, the sculptor for the Merida ornament, she is responsible for an ornament that feels uncommonly cheap (and at the same time overpriced) with Merida.

For those unfamiliar with Brave (reviewed here!), it is the story of Disney’s Scottish Princess Merida. Merida is a headstrong girl who wants to run her own life and in rejecting her suitors, she puts her father’s kingdom in the crosshairs of three neighboring kingdoms’ armies. Merida features only the protagonist from Brave for this initial ornament.


The "Merida" ornament recreates Merida as she appeared in Brave with her long red hair flowing down her back, wearing her blue dress, and carrying her bow. The ornament, released in 2012, is a generally accurate sculpt of Merida that is augmented by remarkably few surface details. In fact, part of the magic of Disney-Pixar films has to be how incredibly detailed they can be; Merida lacks all but the most basic surface details. This ornament is like a sandblasted or fifth generation color copy of the Disney princess.

Measuring three and one quarter inches tall, two inches wide and one and three-quarters inches deep, the "Merida" ornament is an average-sized Disney character ornament. As well, it is one of the more affordable ones at only $14.95.

The Hallmark "Merida" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Merida pulling back on a knocked arrow in her bow, which she is holding horizontally. The ornament is utterly underwhelming in the in the sculpted details and the colored details are appallingly bad outside the hair. Merida’s dress, dor example, has the gold arm bands, but none of the etchings that might indicate the patterns or seams embroidered into the dress. Her barely-protruding feet pop out from under her dress and are basically only distinguishable as shoes (as opposed to folds in the dress) by the fact that they are colored brown! Merida’s hair is not monotonal, which is nice. Instead, it features at least three shades of orange and yellow which give it a sense of depth.

Unfortunately, that is the only remarkable detail. The icing on the cake for the poor quality of the detailing of this ornament is this: “Merida” lacks freckles. An integral part of the character design, it is unforgivable that Hallmark did not include that detail on the ornament. Barring that, she should at least have rosy cheeks (all the artwork I just looked at to double-check had that).


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Merida" could have a sound effect, but it does not. Instead, this is a less-expensive option that is just the character.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Merida" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "Merida" ornament should have been a vital new piece, but its poor quality does not make it essential. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Merida’s head. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. Unfortunately, at that position, Merida hangs in such a way that she tips about fifteen degrees forward. The weight of her bow apparently causes a forward pitch and that further reduces the quality of this ornament.


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, every major franchise from Star Wars to A Nightmare Before Christmas to Indiana Jones started making Hallmark ornaments. "Merida" the first Brave ornament and one of several Disney ornaments on the market for 2012. This ornament has by no means sold out and I suspect with its quality deficiencies, it will not.


Fans of Brave, Disney, Merida, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be exceptionally disappointed by the Merida ornament. It looks like the ornament might have been rushed to market and one may only hope that next year’s inevitable recast has a greater attention to detail.

For other Disney-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 It's All About The Hair Tangled ornament
2011 Rapunzel Tangled ornament
2011 CLU’s Light Cycle from Tron: Legacy ornament
2011 Up ornament
2011 A Snowy Surprise The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament
2011 Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates Of The Caribbean ornament
2010 Tron: Legacy Light Cycle ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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