Friday, August 3, 2012

The Incongruence In The Details Is All That Undermines The Circle Of Life Ornament From Hallmark!

The Good: Good sculpt, Generally good coloring, Comparatively inexpensive, Generally good balance
The Bad: Odd difference in detailing levels between the parts.
The Basics: The 2012 "The Circle Of Life" from The Lion King ornament is very good, but not quite all Disney fans could hope for.

My wife is a big fan of the film The Lion King. In fact, while she is sometimes hard to shop for, the Blu-Ray release of The Lion King made for a surprisingly easy gift last year. Always looking for more d├ęcor that reflects her interests, this year, I took a keen interest in the Disney ornaments from Hallmark and I was especially pleased to see one from The Lion King. The new ornament is The Circle Of Life and it is an ornament I am pretty sure she will love!

For those unfamiliar with The Lion King (reviewed here!), it is the musical story of Simba, the young Prince of the plains who is run off by his Uncle’s hench-hyenas and presumed dead. His return is a fight for the freedom of all the animals of the plain and intended to restore balance. It is the wizened Rafiki holding up the baby Simba at the edge of the cliff that is the subject of the 2012 The Lion King ornament.


The "The Circle Of Life" ornament recreates Rafiki the ape and the baby Simba, as well as the cliff they stood on during the opening song of The Lion King. The ornament, released in 2012, is a very cool and accurate sculpt of the presentation of Simba to the kingdom . . . for the most part.

Hallmark clearly made quite an effort on The Circle Of Life as the cliff face has amazing detailing and the characters have great coloring. Measuring three and three-quarters inches tall, three and one-eighth inches wide and one and three-eighths inches deep, the "The Circle Of Life" ornament is a decent-sized Disney diorama ornament, though it is in scale with prior The Lion King ornaments. It is also quite affordable at only $17.95.

The Hallmark "The Circle Of Life" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Rafiki looking strong and proud as he lifts the baby Simba up for all to see. The sculpt of both Rafiki and the baby Simba, whose eyes are open and has an expression of surprise and maybe just a hint of fear are good. However, the rock face they stand on is incredibly detailed with nooks and crannies. The characters do not have that level of detailing for their fur. While that might be okay for the baby Simba, the animators for The Lion King did give Rafiki some texture to make him look a little shaggier.

At the other end of the spectrum., the coloring is absolutely amazing. The Circle Of Life’s characters and ground look absolutely like they did in the film. Rafiki and Simba are brightly colored and all the different basic elements of Rafiki (in his face, he has a couple of colors) are accurately presented. The ground looks like something far more detailed than what one would expect from an animated film!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "The Circle Of Life" could have a sound effect and it sure does! Powered by batteries that come with the ornament, the The Circle Of Life ornament features a small button on the ground that, when pressed, plays a clip of Elton John’s famous song from The Lion King, “The Circle Of Life!” The music plays clearly and loudly enough to be very easily understood and the crescendo from the music suits the ornament well.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "The Circle Of Life" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "The Circle Of Life" ornament is, I think, an essential piece for anyone who loves Disney. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top back of Rafiki’s head. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. The Circle Of Life hangs perpendicular to the ground when properly hung from that hook point and it has great balance.


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. "The Circle Of Life" is one of only a few The Lion King ornaments on the market and the only one for 2012. This ornament has not sold out at any of the Hallmark stores I have been to, yet, but I suspect because it is so affordable, looks so good, and has such a neat sound function, that it will sell-out. Getting this one before the season is over, rather than hoping it will be discounted, may be a smart idea.


Fans of The Lion King, Disney, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be very happy with the “The Circle Of Life” ornament, despite the very minor detailing disparity!

For other Disney-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 Jack Sneaks A Peek The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament
2012 Monsters, Inc. ornament
2012 Merida Brave ornament
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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