Sunday, July 22, 2012

So Close To The Ideal, The “On Stranger Tides” Pirates Of The Caribbean 2012 Hallmark Ornament Gets Everything But The Skin Right!

The Good: Great sculpt, Generally good coloring detail, Good balance
The Bad: Slight coloring issue for the skin
The Basics: The 2012 "On Stranger Tides" ornament is amazing and right on the border of being value priced, but the monotonal skin coloring robs it of perfection.

As I have been eagerly reviewing the brand new line of Hallmark ornaments, I have the vain hope that my loyal readers are eagerly awaiting the review of one of the perfect ornaments from Hallmark. As one who took some flack for not simply blindly praising the 2011 Captain Jack Sparrow ornament (reviewed here!), I was pleased by how nice the new On Stranger Tides ornament actually is. But it is not a perfect ornament – though to most fans, it will probably come close enough to overlook the flaw which, objectively I cannot. The On Stranger Tides ornament is so close to perfect, but not quite there and if, later in the season, it does not appear to be selling out, this could be one of the very best investment ornaments of a basic character from the 2012 Hallmark line at half price.

For those unfamiliar with the idea of the ornament, On Stranger Tides features a moment from Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (reviewed here!). Jack Sparrow has found that many of the pirates have been magically entrapped in bottles, most notably his Black Pearl. Peering into one of the bottles with the pirate ship, Jack Sparrow looks on in amusement. This is the subject of the On Stranger Tides ornament.


The "On Stranger Tides" ornament recreates Jack Sparrow holding the bottle with the pirate ship, though it is unclear if it is a specific moment from On Stranger Tides. The ornament is just Jack Sparrow, with the bottle in his raised left hand. The ornament, released in 2012, is a very cool and accurate sculpt of Jack Sparrow standing in a surprisingly neutral pose. He has a bandanna on his head and that masks much of his hair, though the ornament features the character's braids on the sides of his face.

Hallmark clearly made quite an effort on Jack Sparrow as he has decent detailing like the buckle on the belt he has going across his chest like a bandoleer and each and every ring on his fingers. I was super impressed by the inclusion of the cut near Sparrow’s right eye both molded and painted there. Measuring four and one-half inches tall, three inches wide and one and three-quarter inches deep, the "On Stranger Tides" ornament is one of the larger Hallmark character ornaments this year. For me, it is hard to see how Hallmark is able to add $3.00 to the initial issue price year over year, though. For sure, On Stranger Tides is a better ornament than the Captain Jack Sparrow ornament, but for $17.95 (as opposed to $14.95 for last year’s ornament), I think I want it to be perfect. Were it $14.95, the On Stranger Tides ornament would not solve the coloring issue with the skin tones, but it would not compel me to be more cautious in my recommendation of the ornament.

The Hallmark "On Stranger Tides" ornament is made of a durable plastic and the translucent bottle in Jack’s hand is a masterwork of detailing that helps set a new standard for what Hallmark is capable of accomplishing. The ornament is incredibly detailed in the sculpted details and the colored details are fabulous, outside Jack Sparrow’s skin tones, which are monotonally tanned, lacking in realistic depth and shading. Considering how Hallmark got the depth and shading right on every strip of leather, the fabrics and boots, and even making the metals on the buckles and weapons look worn, it is astonishing that the ornament did not land the skin tones. Unlike the Captain Jack Sparrow ornament, On Stranger Tides has decent detailing to the eyes.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "On Stranger Tides" 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 "On Stranger Tides" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate movie nostalgia Christmas Tree, the "On Stranger Tides" ornament is a great option that can only enhance the tree of those who love pirates. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Jack Sparrow's head. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. Hanging there, the ornament is absolutely perfectly balanced. The cool sword he has hanging from his belt helps keep the ornament in right balance and On Stranger Tides is well-engineered in that regard.


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. "On Stranger Tides" is one of only a few Pirates Of The Caribbean ornaments on the market and at least the third of Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp fans and fans of the Pirates movies are very happy about the "On Stranger Tides" ornament. They have a lot to be happy with with this one. Given its slightly higher starting price, it seems difficult to assume that it would be an initially worthwhile investment ornament.


Fans of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, Johnny Depp, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be thrilled by this ornament, despite its minor problem. On Stranger Tides might well be the best ornament of Captain Jack Sparrow and it makes for a worthwhile ornament that is easily one of the very best ornaments from Hallmark in 2012.

For other Hallmark genre ornaments released in 2012, please check out my reviews of:
The Final Battle Harry Potter ornament
Momaw Nadon Star Wars Limited Edition ornament
Edward And Bella’s Wedding Twilight 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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