Monday, December 22, 2014

Not As Intricate As It Is Expensive: The 2014 Flying Time Machine Back To The Future II Ornament Underwhelms!

The Good: Generally good sculpt, Generally good coloring
The Bad: Wheels don’t move, EXPENSIVE, No sound function, Seems small for the price.
The Basics: Fans of genre films might be surprised that Back To The Future II got Hallmark ornament treatment, but the 2014 Flying Time Machine ornament is, sadly, not enough to write home about!

When it comes to genre-themed Hallmark ornaments, one might be surprised by how many retro films are getting treated to ornaments this year. In fact, one of the oddest choices for an ornament is the Flying Time Machine ornament from Back To The Future, Part II, which was a fairly unpopular sequel. The ornament is recognizable as the pop culture icon of the Delorean-turned-time machine from the climax of Back To The Future and its sequels.

For those unfamiliar with the film, Back To The Future II (reviewed here!), Marty McFly and Doc Brown fly off into the future in an altered version of the Delorean, which had been retrofitted into a time machine twice. The 2014 Back To The Future II film ornament is the Flying Time Machine and it is very basic and very expensive for what it is.


The Flying Time Machine ornament features just the Delorean-turned-time machine, without any characters evident in it. The simple ornament is cast in sparkly sliver plastic and measures 4” long by 2" wide by 1 1/2” tall. With its light feature, the 2014 Flying Time Machine ornament commanded a $19.95 initial price, which made it one of the more expensive ornaments of its size.

The Hallmark “Flying Time Machine” ornament is well-cast in silver-gray plastic for the bulk of the vehicle ornament. The sculpt includes the Delorean’s boxy frame, turned down wheels (the time machine version of the Delorean turned the wheels and used them to levitate the vehicle), and the garbage-powered fusion engine affixed to the back of the vehicle. The Flying Time Machine ornament features the blue light strip that goes around the back of the car and is part of the front bumper.

The ornament features a surprising lack of fine details. The Delorean Flying Time Machine does not have movable wheels, translucent windows or actual mirrors. The light strip that surrounds the ornament is not in scale with the one on the time machine in Back To The Future Part II. On the basics, though, Hallmark got the sculpt and basic coloring of the Delorean right.


Unlike most Hallmark Keepsake ornaments, the 2014 “Flying Time Machine” has no sound effect, but it does have a light function. Powered by watch batteries, with the press of a button found on the top of the ornament, the Flying Time Machine lights up. There is a two-part neon blue light strip on the front and back of the ornament and it lights up a little when the button is pressed. Given that the scenes from Back To The Future that have the flying version of the Delorean have decent dialogue, it is surprising that Hallmark could not get a sound clip to accompany the light effect.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake “Flying Time Machine” ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate genre movie Christmas Tree, the “Flying Time Machine” ornament is a mediocre addition. The ornament has a steel hook loop embedded into the top of the Delorean, at about the center of the car-turned-flying time machine. The loop's location is entirely necessary for the ornament and fairly obvious there. The “Flying Time Machine” ornament is noticeably back heavy from that location. Because the vehicle is supposed to be level, the fact that it has an upward pitch makes it look off.


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 (reviewed here!). Within a few years, virtually every classic film franchise, persona, and pop culture icon jumped on the bandwagon and began merchandising with Hallmark as well. Classic properties like Marilyn Monroe, The Wizard Of Oz and both Marvel and DC Comics have been made into Hallmark Keepsake Christmas ornaments. The “Flying Time Machine” is the only Back To The Future II ornament on the market in 2014 and one of only two from the franchise that Hallmark has produced. Fans of the film do not seem to be finding this ornament irresistible, as it appears perfectly available at every Hallmark Keepsake store I have been to since it was released in October. The ornament might end up being clearanced after the holidays, but it is unlikely to be a good investment piece; the balance issue and underwhelming nature of the ornament for the price make it a poor bet for appreciating back to the high original sticker price of $19.95.


Fans of Back To The Future II, science fiction movies and Hallmark ornaments will find the Flying Time Machine ornament to be overpriced, backheavy, and underdetailed for the price, making it a harder sell than it ought to have been.

For other genre movie vehicle Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2014 1989 Batmobile Batman ornament
2014 Sandcrawler Star Wars ornament
2014 U.S.S. Vengeance Star Trek Into Darkness 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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