Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mumbling Through Christmas: Milton Waddams Is An Esoteric Hallmark Ornament!

The Good: Generally good sculpt, Basic coloring, Includes a sound clip
The Bad: Mediocre balance, Poor sound quality, Seems expensive
The Basics: One of October’s weirdest Hallmark ornaments was the Office Space ornament of Milton Waddams, which was a mediocre execution of the subject!

In milking various franchises for fan dollars, it is interesting to me to see which movie studios license which films. While there are a number of fans of the movie Office Space, it always seemed like an odd film (to me) to try to make merchandise for. Before Hallmark licensed with 20th Century Fox to produce the Milton Waddams ornament in 2013, the only Office Space merchandise I was really aware of was found at Spencer’s Gifts or Hot Topic and catered to the stoner/drinking college freshman crowd. In other words, the (previously) target(ed) market for Office Space merchandise hardly seems to be the Hallmark Gold Crown-shopping demographic. So, between the inherent quality (or lack thereof) of the Milton Waddams ornament and the previously-known spending habits of the target demographic, it was no surprise to me that this was an ornament still pretty easily found locally after the Christmas clearance from Hallmark.

Hallmark and 20th Century Fox created an ornament that embodies the fantastic Stephen Root as Milton Waddams from Office Space for the Milton Waddams ornament. For those not familiar with Office Space (reviewed here!), throughout the workplace comedy, Milton Waddams is psychologically beaten down by his boss and his beloved stapler is messed with. Waddams becomes a catalyst for change at his job by snapping when he is pushed too far one day.


The Milton Waddams ornament faithfully presents Milton Waddams in his shirt, tie, and pocket protector. This version of Milton Waddams has the character standing, on a yellowish base (which represents a stack of papers) that says “Office Space.” The sculpt is fairly detailed and entirely recognizable for anyone who has seen Office Space (even if one cannot recall the character’s name!). The ornament, released in 2013, is good in that it looks just like Stephen Root with his plastered-down hair, thin glasses, drooping mustache and tightly-cinched belt. The ornament includes such sculpted details as the pocket protector, wristwatch, and hands which are clutching Milton Waddams’ precious stapler. Measuring four and a half inches tall, the Milton Waddams ornament is one of several non-genre movie-related Hallmark ornaments released in 2013 and it does seem to be one of the least popular (given how many I was able to find after the fact!). The Milton Waddams ornament came with an original retail price of $17.95 and given that I am finding them for at least 75% off with some frequency still, this was not a tremendous value at its original retail price.

The Hallmark Milton Waddams ornament is made of durable plastic. Milton Waddams’s shirt is light blue and his pants are black, just like in the movie. Unfortunately, the skin tones for Milton Waddams are monotonal; the pale color is hardly lifelike and details like Milton’s lips are virtually absent on the coloring front, despite the well-painted mustache just above them! The watch is not incredibly detailed, nor is the stapler, though Milton Waddams’s pocket protector and badge seem to be well-colored.

The Milton Waddams ornament features a version of Milton Waddams who looks more like the animated character than the man who actually appeared in the live-action film Office Space. The skin tones on the face and forearms are monotonal as opposed to having rich coloring, which is unfortunate and undermines the potential realism of this ornament. The hair color is also solidly brown as opposed to having realistic depth and shading.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Milton Waddams has a sound chip, but not a light-up function. Milton Waddams ornament comes with batteries and with the push of a button on the paperstack base, a speaker on the base plays clips from Stephen Root. Unfortunately, because the character mumbles, these audio clips are virtually incomprehensible. Waddams says something about his stapler, but I can’t understand what he’s saying! The volume is not the problem; Hallmark chose a character with severe enunciation issues to give an audio-based feature ornament to!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Milton Waddams ornament is to be hung on a Christmas tree. For those creating the ultimate movie-themed Christmas Tree, the Milton Waddams ornament . . . is still utterly unnecessary. In addition to being a very obscure character, the balance for the ornament is a little off. Unfortunately, because Milton Waddams is a little heavyset and he has his hands in front of him with his stapler, the ornament is a little frontheavy. The ornament has the standard metal hook loop embedded into the top, back, of Milton Waddams’s head at a pretty obvious position. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, swings very easily and is clearly weighted more to the front side of the ornament.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Milton Waddams ornament was one of the October ornament releases and given how Office Space, like most comedy films, is not a merchandising cash cow, it is unsurprising that it did not sell out during the holiday season at full price. When the balance and paintjob issues are factored in, it is hard to bet on this being a good investment piece for the foreseeable future, if ever.


Despite a pretty awesome sculpt and the effort of making a battery-operated audio feature for the ornament, fans of Milton Waddams, Stephen Root, and Office Space are likely to find the Milton Waddams ornament unimpressive and a bit of a letdown. That makes it one that even fans passed by and might make 20th Century Fox or Hallmark think harder about the properties they license!

For other film-based Hallmark ornaments from 2013, please check out my reviews of:
Under The Sea The Little Mermaid ornament
The Joker The Dark Knight ornament
Mockingjay The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ornament


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

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment