Friday, July 10, 2015

Marginally Better, The 2015 Planet Of The Apes Dr. Zaius Ornament Remains A Tough Sell!

The Good: Good sculpt, General coloring, Affordable, Neat detailing on the doll
The Bad: Slight balance issue, Very basic coloring for most of the ornament, No feature
The Basics: The Planet Of The Apes ornament line is continued in 2015 with Dr. Zaius, which is another more or less average genre ornament.

Last year when Hallmark announced its new ornament line-up, one of the more interesting surprises for me was that Planet Of The Apes was getting immortalized in Hallmark ornament form. It was not a significant anniversary of the 1968 science fiction classic film and the Cornelius ornament (reviewed here!) seemed like a more obscure starting point than either Charlton Heston's protagonist or the antagonistic Dr. Zaius. This year, fans of Planet Of The Apes get their Dr. Zaius ornament and it is all right.

Hallmark sculptor Kristina Gaughran created an ornament that is evocative of the film persona of Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius from Planet Of The Apes for the Dr. Zaius ornament. For those not familiar with Planet Of The Apes (reviewed here!), the villain was Dr. Zaius, an orangutan who mixes science and religious doctrine. Dr. Zaius helped keep order in the simian society by denying that humans possessed intelligence.

It is Dr. Zaius, holding the doll that is used to prove that humans once had intelligence, that is the subject of the 2015 Dr. Zaius Hallmark ornament.


The 2015 Dr. Zaius ornament faithfully recreates Dr. Zaius and the doll he holds in a fairly precise sculpt. The ornament, released in 2015, is fair for an ornament based upon the costume used in the original Planet Of The Apes film. Measuring four and three-eighths inches tall by one and five-eighths inches wide by an inch and three-quarters deep, the Dr. Zaius ornament is the only Planet Of The Apes ornament released by Hallmark in stores in 2015 and was released at Gold Crown Hallmark stores on Ornament Preview Weekend in July. The Dr. Zaius ornament came with an original retail price of $14.95 and given that its predecessor was not a sell-out, it is hard to believe this one will be flying off the shelves tomorrow when they go on sale.

The Hallmark Dr. Zaius ornament is made of durable plastic. Dr. Zaius’s costume is simple, but accurately detailed. Dr. Zaius is dressed in a simple tunic with what appears to be leather shoulder pads and accents on the sleeves. His hands are covered in gloves, which match his brown boots. Dr. Zaius stands, clutching a filthy, partially melted-looking doll in his hands, glaring out at the person who is buying the ornament. Dr. Zaius's feet have him standing like he is in the process of moving or standing on unlevel ground, which is a little awkward.

The Dr. Zaius ornament features a version of Dr. Zaius who looks more like an animated version of the character than the live-action one based on the make-up effects from Planet Of The Apes. The skin tones have a little less impressive depth and shading compared to the mask from the 1960s when the film was made. Similarly, the costume is clean and simplistic and it seems incongruent with the doll in the character's hands, which is impressively colored and sculpted.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Dr. Zaius could have a sound chip or light-up function. Given how many good lines Dr. Zaius has in Planet Of The Apes, or the fact that the doll speaking is integral to the climax of the film, it is surprising that Hallmark opted against doing a sound clip for the ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Dr. Zaius ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate movie nostalgia Christmas Tree, the Dr. Zaius ornament is a hit or miss addition. Oddly, the ornament is frontheavy. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top, center of the back of Dr. Zaius’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, so it looks like Dr. Zaius is lurching forward slightly.


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 Dr. Zaius ornament would be a real surprise if it sold out and/or appreciated significantly, especially because its predecessor was one of the ornaments easily available on clearance at the season's end. I suspect Dr. Zaius will be readily available through and after the holidays as well, making it a tougher ornament to want to rush out and pay full price for during Premiere Weekend.


Fans of Dr. Zaius, Maurice Evans, and Planet Of The Apes are likely to be somewhat underwhelmed by the Dr. Zaius ornament. It is not bad, but it is certainly not noteworthy, either.

For other film-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2015 Star Wars Admiral Ackbar ornament
2015 Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Nyota Uhura ornament
2014 Jessica Rabbit Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ornament


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

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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