Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Neat Concept, Light On Detailing: The 2014 Cornelius Planet Of The Apes Hallmark Ornament Is Only Average!

The Good: Good sculpt, General coloring, Affordable
The Bad: Weird balance issue, Simplistic coloring, No feature
The Basics: The 2014 Hallmark Planet Of The Apes ornament of Cornelius is objectively average, with an odd balance issue offsetting the very precise sculpt.

As Christmas approaches at what seems to be an accelerated rate, I’m working on Christmas ornament reviews, while shoppers still have a chance to get them before the holiday (or, conversely, for discounts right after Christmas for the ones worth investing in!). One of the last genre ornaments that I had yet to review was the Cornelius Planet Of The Apes ornament that hit stores as part of Hallmark’s October release. The Cornelius ornament is, unfortunately, a study in average. It has a decent sculpt, but one of the weirdest balance issues I’ve seen on an ornament ever. It has surprisingly good coloring for some of its aspects, poor detailing on others. The result is an average ornament, at best.

Hallmark sculptor Kristina Gaughran created an ornament that is evocative of the film persona of Roddy McDowell as Cornelius from Planet Of The Apes for the Cornelius ornament. For those not familiar with Planet Of The Apes (reviewed here!), the villain was Cornelius, an ape who worked to keep apes in power over the human slaves. He and Dr. Zaius disagreed on the intelligence of humans who insisted they were intelligent.

It is Cornelius on a patch of ground, standing, looking slightly angrily, not in any iconic pose or moment, that is the subject of the 2014 Cornelius Hallmark ornament.


The 2014 Cornelius ornament faithfully recreates Cornelius in sculpt, if not in coloring, in his simple ape garments, standing on a small patch of rocky dirt. The ornament, released in 2014, is fair for an ornament based upon the costume used in the original Planet Of The Apes film. Measuring four and one-quarter inches tall by one and three-quarters inches wide by an inch and a quarter deep, the Cornelius ornament is the only Planet Of The Apes ornament released by Hallmark in stores in 2014 and was part of October’s push for classic genre film ornaments by Hallmark. The Cornelius ornament came with an original retail price of $14.95 and given that it has not been a sell-out at any of the Hallmark Gold Crown stores I have been to, I suspect it will be easily available after the holidays on discount.

The Hallmark Cornelius ornament is made of durable plastic. Cornelius’s costume is simple, but remarkably well-detailed. Cornelius is dressed in a simple tunic with a leather-looking bib. His hands are bare and hairy. His shoes are well-rendered and a cool conceit from the film; they are like gloves for the feet, with an individual compartment for each toe! Cornelius the ape stands, looking askew, with an angry look in his brown eyes.

The Cornelius ornament features a version of Cornelius who looks more like an animated version of the character than the live-action one based on Roddy McDowell. The skin tones have a reasonable amount of depth and shading based on the mask from the 1960s when the film was made. But the costume is clean and simplistic and it seems incongruent with the character in the outfit.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Cornelius could have a sound chip or light-up function. Given how many good lines Cornelius has in Planet Of The Apes, it is surprising that Hallmark opted against doing a sound clip for the ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Cornelius ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate movie nostalgia Christmas Tree, the Cornelius ornament is very much an unnecessary one. Oddly, the ornament is bottom, back heavy, with the front bottom of the ground leaning forward and up at a noticeable angle. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top, center of the back of Cornelius’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 back (an effect accented by the base).


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 Cornelius ornament just began selling at the October Preview Weekend and seems to be pretty easy to find still. Given the problems with the balance and inconsistent coloring for this ornament, along with the general lack of relevance for Planet Of The Apes, it is doubtful it will be a sell-out and appreciate in value any time soon.


Fans of Cornelius, Roddy McDowell, and Planet Of The Apes are likely to be utterly unimpressed by the Cornelius ornament. It is fair and the price is inexpensive, but it is one of those ornaments that is hard to get excited about going out of one’s way for.

For other film-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2014 Alien 35th Anniversary ornament
2014 Bane The Dark Knight Rises ornament
2014 Scarlett’s White Dress Gone With The Wind 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.
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