Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hallmark Illustrates How It Has Forsaken The Star Trek Fans With The 2012 “An Extraordinary Meeting” Ornament!

The Good: Interesting concept, The sound clip, Good costuming and hair on Spock Prime
The Bad: Not a great likeness of characters, Expensive for the quality, No light effect, Silly backing, Terrible animated look for characters
The Basics: A disappointing ornament that makes Spock and Spock Prime look more like animated characters, the 2012 "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament is a huge letdown.

In 2012, it is finally entirely clear to anyone who might have had their doubts: Hallmark has forsaken Star Trek entirely for Star Wars for their ornament line. The quality of the Star Wars ornaments is exceptional and the Star Trek ornaments is steadily degrading. With this year’s ornament releases, there is a clear difference in quality and detailing level between the two franchises. Star Wars has become a huge annual cash cow for Hallmark (which might be why they devote their resources to multiple exclusives each year!) whereas Star Trek has, apparently, not been (though I argue it’s because they keep producing substandard ornaments that do not inspire consumers to spend). Sadly, the “An Extraordinary Meeting” ornament is another in a recent series of letdowns for Star Trek ornament fans.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, "An Extraordinary Meeting" features a representation of one of the final moments of the 2009 movie Star Trek (reviewed here!) where Spock and Spock Prime meet and say good-bye to one another.

It is Spock and Spock Prime saluting one another that is the subject of the "An Extraordinary Meeting" 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 "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament recreates the moment Spock and Spock Prime meet and prepare to go their own separate ways. The ornament, released in 2012, 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 pointed ears and both the ornaments have reasonably good texture on the costumes and Spock Prime’s hair looks realistic. Measuring four inches tall, four and one-quarter inches wide and one and seven-eighths inches deep, the "An Extraordinary Meeting" 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 "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the the two officers facing one another. The sculpts are clearly of Spock and Spock prime, though the sculpts are very basic. The background is a somewhat ridiculous looking sticker with the StarFleet delta shield, instead of anything that tries to realistically capture the real set the scene was shot in. The characters have their hands up in the traditional Vulcan salute, but the ornament is very underdetails. To wit, neither of the characters has their fingernails molded on. I mention this because the sophistication of the Star Wars ornaments makes it clear Hallmark has the technology to do that.

Considering that the devil is in the details, the ornament is ridiculous. Spock Prime's face is not quite angular enough and Spock’s face is a bit round. They both look animated and somewhat silly. Neither character has realistic skin tones, especially given that neither has a green tinge to them. Spock Prime actually looks disturbingly pale and has no age lines.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "An Extraordinary Meeting" 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 "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament is battery-operated and it comes with the batteries needed to run it. Hallmark placed the button on the side of the backdrop of the ornament.

The button, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains four different clips from Star Trek. Rather extraordinarily, the chip has several seconds of dialogue between Spock and Spock Prime directly from the film!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament is a high-priced option that is a tough sell, despite the sound chip. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the backdrop. This is fairly obvious, but not obtrusive, and it is necessary for the ornament. Hanging from that loop, the ornament is generally well-balanced. The right side is a bit heavier than the left and the ornament hangs with about fifteen degrees to the right. With a balance issue like that, the ornament is dragged down even more.


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 "An Extraordinary Meeting" ornament has been bought more by fans so far, but not by the public at large. In fact, two of the Hallmarks I went to said they hadn’t sold any of theirs! Given the lack of quality and the expense, I suspect that it will not be a good investment ornament.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, Spock, the real Spock, J.J. Abram’s Star Trek, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be utterly disappointed by the “An Extraordinary Meeting” ornament.

For other Star Trek diorama Hallmark ornaments reviews, please check out my reviews of:
2011 "Mirror, Mirror" ornament
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!

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