Thursday, September 12, 2013

Marginally Better Than Last Year’s Big Disney Ornament Failure: The 2013 Merida The Archer Brave Ornament!

The Good: Decent sculpted details, Decent balance
The Bad: Obvious seam, Lack of coloring detailing
The Basics: The 2013 "Merida The Archer" from Brave ornament is only slightly better than last year’s failure of a Merida ornament, making it similarly impossible to recommend!

Last year, I found my talents for evaluating the Hallmark ornaments came in handy very early on. Hallmark produced an ornament that was well-below their usual quality standards that I thought I could do a great service to consumers by panning fast and hard. That ornament was the 2012 Merida Brave ornament (reviewed here!). It rapidly became my most-read ornament review of 2012 and of all time, but incongruently, also became the ornament review through which the most readers actually bought the ornament! Go figure. This year, it is easy to be impressed with the first impression of the Merida The Archer ornament – it has a well-molded bowstring and arrows in Merida’s quiver – but a closer investigation of the ornament reveals that it, too, is a less-than-worthwhile Hallmark ornament.

For those unfamiliar with Brave (reviewed here!), Princess Merida resents that her mother wants to marry her off to the first man who comes along. So, she enters the archery contest (for which her hand in marriage is supposed to be the prize) and she blows away the competition. It is Merida with her bow and arrows, an arrow in the bow, her arms in an archer’s stance that is the subject of this second Brave ornament.

Unfortunately, while the bow looks good, some of the sculpted details are less impressive and the coloring is sloppy at best, making it easy to avoid adding this ornament to your collection.


The "Merida The Archer" ornament recreates Merida as she appeared in Brave during the archery contest scene with her long red hair blowing forward, wearing her light blue dress, holding her bow. The ornament, released in 2013, is a generally accurate sculpt of Merida The Archer 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 The Archer lacks all but the most basic surface details.

Measuring three and one half inches tall, three inches wide and one and three-quarters inches deep, the "Merida The Archer" 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 The Archer" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Merida pulling back on a knocked arrow in her bow. The ornament is utterly underwhelming in the in the sculpted details and the colored details are appallingly bad outside the hair. Merida The Archer’s dress, for example, has the gold arm bands, but none of the etchings that might indicate the patterns or seams embroidered into the dress. The detailing on the bottom of the dress is also similarly gold, but in blobs of gold as opposed to including any finer detailing. Merida The Archer’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, there is a very obvious seam in the hair, which makes it sloppily assembled-looking.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Merida The Archer" 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 The Archer" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "Merida The Archer" ornament should have been incredible, but its poor quality does not make it essential. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Merida The Archer’s head. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. From that position, Merida The Archer hangs perfectly level. The balance is one of the few redeeming qualities 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 Archer" is the second Brave ornament and one of several Disney ornaments on the market for 2013. 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 largely disappointed by the Merida The Archer ornament, though not as unimpressed by the first Brave ornament. Still, this is not one of the better Disney ornaments this year.

For other Disney-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 The Circle Of Life The Lion King ornament
2012 Jack Sneaks A Peek The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament
2012 Monsters, Inc. 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 Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

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