Friday, July 19, 2013

A Decidedly Un-Christmasy Experience “At Jabba’s Mercy!”

The Good: Great sculpt, Wonderful sound effect, Decent balance, Generally good coloring.
The Bad: PRICE, Detailing on C-3PO, Very awkward soundclip
The Basics: Despite being designed to please the fans, the 2013 Star Wars At Jabba’s Mercy ornament is still not quite right.

This year is the anniversary of the cinematic release of Return Of The Jedi and Hallmark is celebrating by devoting most of its Star Wars ornament line to characters and situations from the movie. Already, the limited edition Boushh ornament (reviewed here!) is sold out at virtually every Hallmark store I know of. But in focusing so much on the one film, some of the ornaments took a little bit of a creative hit or have an issue that makes it a little more awkward than some of the others in the Star Wars line. That is where the At Jabba’s Mercy ornament falls. In fact, At Jabba’s Mercy reminds me a lot of the problems with the 2009 Gone With The Wind “Frankly, My Dear” ornament (reviewed here!), which is to say that it is not at all Christmasy and, in fact, there is something disturbing about the sound clip that comes from the ornament.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of At Jabba’s Mercy, when the heroes of the Rebellion were trying to rescue Han Solo, early in Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!), most of them end up captured. First among the captives was C-3PO, who is given to Jabba The Hutt. After the hologram of Luke Skywalker gifts C-3PO to Jabba The Hutt, C-3PO stands beside Jabba working as his translator.

It is Jabba The Hutt atop his flat throne with C-3PO next to Jabba’s feeding bowl that is the subject of the At Jabba’s Mercy ornament.


The "At Jabba’s Mercy" is a diorama -style ornament from Hallmark, which recreates scenes from Return Of The Jedi both with a molded scene and special effects. "At Jabba’s Mercy" features a sound effect, but no light effect. "At Jabba’s Mercy" is well worth picking up because it does what it sets out to do fairly well. Unfortunately, collectors and fans will have to pay for that quality. Hallmark's initial price for the ornament was $32.95, which was the most expensive (initial price) Star Wars ornament for the year and it was priced comparably with the highest price Star Trek ornament of the year.

The 2013 "At Jabba’s Mercy" is made of durable plastic and includes a sound function emitted through a tiny speaker on the base of the ornament. The 4" wide by 2 1/2" tall by 2" deep ornament faithfully recreates the throne, feeding bowl, C-3PO and Jabba The Hutt. The pieces are molded incredibly well. Jabba the Hutt has skin wrinkles and even the character’s drool molded onto the giant slimy slug-like creature. The front of the throne has the four little monster heads molded onto it and the feeding bowl is even recreated in what appears to be clear resin adding to the realistic appearance of the setting. C-3PO is even molded with enough detail to include his torso circle and a tiny hole for his mouth.

As for the coloring, the At Jabba’s Mercy ornament is good, but not incredible. The drool on Jabba’s mouth is not as vividly colored on the actual ornament as it is on the promotional artwork. Even worse is the rendition of C-3PO. C-3PO in this form is a terrible brownish/bronze color instead of the metallic gold color that the droid actually should be. Outside C-3PO the coloring is good, but still not wonderful. Jabba is not glossy and slimy the way Jabba ought to be, but the yellows and greens of his skin are well-colored.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "At Jabba’s Mercy" ornament features a sound effect, but not a light effect. Powered by batteries that are housed in the ornament (and come with it), the "At Jabba’s Mercy" has four phrases. When the button on the ornament is pushed, C-3PO shares the news with the heroes of the Rebellion that they have been sentenced to death. The sound is clear and crisp, loud enough, but somewhat horrifying for the content. There’s something disturbing about a holiday ornament that features an audio clip of a death sentence.


As an ornament, the "At Jabba’s Mercy" is intended to be hung on a Christmas tree and for that purpose, the ornament is great. The "At Jabba’s Mercy" features a brass loop protruding from Jabba’s right shoulder. Rather incredibly, from that vantage point, this ornament hangs perfectly level.


The "At Jabba’s Mercy" ornament was issued at $32.95, which is ridiculously expensive, especially for the quality of the ornament. At that price, it is not terribly collectible and it is unlikely its value will appreciate significantly. Despite only being available for the past week, the "At Jabba’s Mercy" ornament has sold slowly. Only three of the four local Hallmark stores near me have sold only one each. This does not look to be a sellout ornament or a great investment piece for investors.


The 2013 "At Jabba’s Mercy" Hallmark ornament looks good, is balanced well, but could have been quite a bit better, especially for the price.

For other Star Wars diorama ornaments, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
2012 Han Solo To The Rescue
2011 Showdown At The Cantina
2010 His Master's Bidding
2009 A Deadly Duel


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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