Friday, November 6, 2015

Disappointing Outside The Sound Clip: The 2015 The Needs Of The Many Star Trek Ornament Fizzles!

The Good: Good concept, The sound clip
The Bad: Not a great likeness of characters, Expensive for the quality, Poor balance, Lack of coloring depth
The Basics: As a tribute to the late, great Leonard Nimoy or just as a Star Trek diorama ornament, the 2015 "The Needs Of The Many" ornament is a tremendous letdown.

As one who loves Star Trek and actively collects the merchandise, I was a big fan of the late, great Leonard Nimoy. With his death last year, there is a lot of merchandise that has been released as a tribute to him. Even before his death earlier this year, Hallmark had designed the The Needs Of The Many holiday ornament and teased it at last year's Comic Con. As a fan of Hallmark's Star Trek ornament line, I was pretty excited to see the Nimoy-themed ornament. Unfortunately, it was a pretty terrible ornament.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, "The Needs Of The Many" features a representation of one of the final moments of the Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (reviewed here!) where the dying Spock says good-bye to Admiral Kirk after he saved the Enterprise.

It is Spock and Admiral Kirk on opposite sides of the irradiated engineering room that is the subject of the "The Needs Of The Many" Hallmark Ornament. To add extra value to this one, Hallmark provided this ornament with a decent sound chip that plays a few sound clips from the scene.


The "The Needs Of The Many" ornament recreates the moment Spock and Admiral Kirk say good-bye to one another after Spock went in and realigned the power flow to repower the Enterprise and allow it to escape the Genesis Wave. The ornament, released in 2015, is a mixed bag as it has some interesting features and detailing, but the characters lack realistic detailing and shading.

Still, Hallmark clearly made an effort on the characters in some ways as they are detailed with Spock's pointed ears and some of the details on the costumes - like the snaps on the back of the rank braid on the shoulders. Even Admiral Kirk’s hair has texture, making it appropriate for the early-80s perm-style the character had in the film. Measuring four inches tall, three and one-half inches wide and two and five-eighths inches deep, the "The Needs Of The Many" ornament is one of the larger Star Trek diorama ornaments and with the sound feature, it commanded a $29.95 price when it was originally released.

The Hallmark "The Needs Of The Many" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the the two officers facing one another. The sculpts are clearly of Spock and Admiral Kirk, though the sculpts are very basic. Between the two is a thin piece of clear plastic representing the glass between them from the movie and there is a section of flooring upon which both characters kneel. The characters have their hands up as if to touch each other through the "glass," but the ornament is very underdetailed. To wit, neither of the characters has their fingernails molded on and Spock's hand and face are not detailed to look burned.

As a fan of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, the ornament looks fairly ridiculous in its lack of detailing that would truly capture the film's climactic moment. Both characters look fairly animated; neither character has realistic skin tones. This is disturbing as the ornament does not make it clear exactly why Spock is dying. In fact, the subject - while a fan favorite - seems esoteric and somewhat disturbing for a holiday ornament. The painted details on the ornament - like the brass for the rank insignia - are not painted on with the precision that the promotional photos would imply, which is a further let-down to characters.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "The Needs Of The Many" could have both a light effect and a sound effect, but this one only has a sound effect. That may irk some fans who have paid less in the past for ornaments that have both. The "The Needs Of The Many" ornament is battery-operated and it comes with the batteries needed to run it. Hallmark placed the button on the base of the ornament.

The button, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains clips from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Rather extraordinarily, the chip has several seconds of dialogue between Spock and Admiral Kirk, from the key scene at the peak of the film!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "The Needs Of The Many" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "The Needs Of The Many" ornament is a high-priced option that is a tough sell, despite the sound chip. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the "window" between the two characters on the section of the engineering room. This is fairly obvious, but not obtrusive, and it is necessary for the ornament. Hanging from that loop, the ornament is poorly balanced. Hung properly, the ornament is weighted heavily toward Spock and because the base is supposed to be a section of flat floor, that is especially awkward and noticeable.


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!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all of the major starships and many of the characters from the franchise and they have all been more mass produced than that first one. The "The Needs Of The Many" ornament has been bought more by fans so far, but not by the public at large. Given the lack of quality and the expense, I suspect that it will not be a good investment ornament and there will be adequate quantities of the ornament available on clearance after the holiday.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, Spock, Kirk, William Shatner, the late amazing Leonard Nimoy, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be disappointed by the “The Needs Of The Many” ornament given that it lacks fine detailing, good balance and bears a high price tag for it.

For other Star Trek diorama Hallmark ornaments reviews, please check out my reviews of:
2014 "The Devil In The Dark" ornament
2013 "Arena" ornament
2012 "An Extraordinary Meeting" Star Trek ornament
2011 "Mirror, Mirror" ornament
2010 "Amok Time" ornament
2009 "The Menagerie" ornament
2004 "The City On The Edge Of Forever" 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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