Sunday, November 17, 2013

Average Ornament: “Ariel’s Big Dream” Is Not All Is Should Be For Disney Fans!

The Good: Decent sculpted details, Great balance, Tail
The Bad: Hair, Lack of coloring detailing
The Basics: The 2013 "Ariel’s Big Dream" from The Little Mermaid ornament is a well-sculpted, well-balanced, underdetailed ornament that has a more rushed than refined feel to it.

With the holidays so rapidly approaching, it is actually shocking to me that it has been almost a month since I last reviewed a Hallmark ornament! And yet, the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Mockingjay ornament (reviewed here!) was reviewed a while back! Well, no more! I shall rededicate myself to reviewing ornaments in order to aid holiday shoppers in making some of the best decisions possible with gifting Hallmark ornaments! Arguably, one of the biggest DVD and Blu-Ray releases for Disney this year was The Little Mermaid, so it is entirely predictable and reasonable that Hallmark would release an ornament from The Little Mermaid to capitalize upon the renewed popularity of that film. That ornament is Ariel’s Big Dream and while it is most certainly good, it is not great, nor the best Disney Hallmark ornament released for 2013.

For those unfamiliar with The Little Mermaid (reviewed here!), the young Princess Ariel is a mermaid living under the sea, who dreams of going on land and experiencing the airbreathing world. She gets her wish, thanks to the cruel witch Ursula, but at the cost of her voice. During the opening sequences of the film, she muses about the world above the sea, most notably during the song “Under The Sea” and it is the playful, yet contemplative, pose of Ariel flitting about that is the subject of this year’s The Little Mermaid ornament.

Hallmark got all of the broad strokes right with Ariel’s Big Dream, but sculptor Katrina Bricker did not quite get the hair right and did less detailing on the actual tail (though the tail end is very cool!) than the rest of the ornament.


The "Ariel’s Big Dream" ornament recreates Ariel as she appeared in The Little Mermaid, though not from a specific scene or iconic moment. The ornament, released in 2013, is a generally accurate sculpt of Ariel the mermaid that is lacking in fine details (though, to be fair, the source material was not live action or incredibly detailed), though it does have a very neat feature, which is a translucent tail end, which makes the tail look translucent, like an actual fish.

Measuring three inches tall, two inches wide and one and one-quarter inches deep, the "Ariel’s Big Dream" ornament is an average-sized Disney character ornament. As well, it is one of the more affordable ones at only $14.95 (though, I just noticed all of them seem to be!).

The Hallmark "Ariel’s Big Dream" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Ariel, mid-turn, her tail coming up as she rises. The ornament is sculpted accurately and gets the tail generally right, though it lacks scales and the hair was produced in broad strokes. As a result, the hair looks bulky, as opposed to an assemblage of individual fibers and the net result is more like the appearance of a helmet than actual hair! Ariel’s Big Dream is colored in monotones, though there is a little bit of depth and shading to her cheeks, creating a more lifelike blush to her cheeks. Otherwise, her skin, shell top, hair, and tail are all colored in single colors, as is the fork she is holding in her right hand. The ornament does not look bad, but it looks less-detailed than many of the other Hallmark Disney ornaments and that is a bit of a letdown.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Ariel’s Big Dream" 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 "Ariel’s Big Dream" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "Ariel’s Big Dream" ornament could be the essential The Little Mermaid ornament (truth be told, I’m not sure I’ve reviewed any other ones from this film!). The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Ariel’s head. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. Fortunately, at that position, Ariel’s Big Dream hangs perfectly level. The balance for this ornament is incredible and it is impressive given the direction of the arms and tail; Hallmark got the physics of this ornament just right!


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. "Ariel’s Big Dream" is one of many The Little Mermaid ornaments the company has released and one of several Disney ornaments on the market for 2013. This ornament has by no means sold out, at least locally. However, given the enduring popularity of The Little Mermaid, it is hard not to imagine that Ariel’s Big Dream will be a decent seller in the long run. I’d bet on this as a good investment ornament with the after-the-holiday discounts, even if it is not likely to skyrocket in value.


Fans of The Little Mermaid, Disney, Ariel, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to have mixed feelings with the Ariel’s Big Dream ornament, though it is not a bad overall ornament. Younger, less discriminating, fans are likely to enjoy it more than those who hold Hallmark to a high (though reasonable) standard.

For other Disney-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2013 Merida The Archer Brave ornament
2012 The Circle Of Life The Lion King ornament
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 Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

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