Friday, August 19, 2016

Adequate, But Unextraordinary: The Dr. Finklestein Ornament!

The Good: Decent balance, Good sculpt and coloring
The Bad: Seems expensive, Odd sound clip choices
The Basics: “Dr. Finklestein” immortalizes the ally of the heroes of The Nightmare Before Christmas in a good, but not overly impressive, way.

When it comes to Hallmark ornaments for genre works, there seems to be a threshold that gets hit that differentiates the essential from the extravagant. The Disney-themed Hallmark holiday ornaments represent a franchise that has elements that have clearly passed that threshold. While The Nightmare Before Christmas is an exceptionally popular film and subject for merchandising, Hallmark has pretty effectively mined it for ornaments. As a result, some of the newer ornaments focus on less-exceptional characters or moments from the movie and this year's ornament is one of those. This year's The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament is Dr. Finklestein.

For those unfamiliar with The Nightmare Before Christmas (reviewed here!) Dr. Finklestein was the mad scientist who created Sally. The wheelchair-bound scientist was a support character in the film, advising Sally and helping her with her relationship with Jack Skellington.


The "Dr. Finklestein" ornament recreates the scientist in his wheelchair, holding one of Sally's arms. The ornament includes the doctor, his wheelchair, and the stone floor of his laboratory as a single piece. The ornament, released in 2016, is as accurate as it can be considering it is based upon an animated work for the source material. Because everything in The Nightmare Before Christmas is colored in simple solid colors (without human shading or details), the ornament appropriately does not have complex shading to it.

Still, Hallmark clearly made an effort on the "Dr. Finklestein" ornament and almost everything about the ornament looks good and functions well. Measuring four and a quarter inches tall, two and one-half inches wide and three inches deep, the "Dr. Finklestein" ornament is a little larger than some of the other The Nightmare Before Christmas Ornaments.

The Hallmark "Dr. Finklestein" ornament is made of a durable plastic, with some pretty decent sculpted details. In addition to the bolts in Dr. Finklestein's head and the stitches on the arm he is holding up, the wheelchair features spokes for the wheels and the joystick Finklestein uses to move the chair! The wheel in the back and the holes on the back of the chair are exceptional sculpted details for the ornament. This ornament remains fairly easy to find at Hallmark stores, so there is no reason to look for it yet in the secondary market, despite the fact that The Nightmare Before Christmas is pretty popular. This ornament features a battery to power the sound effect.

The “Dr. Finklestein” ornament has coloring that is generally simplistic. While the grays of the ground are mottled, as if it is an actual stonework, there are very few coloring accents on the character and his wheelchair. The source material is fairly simplistic, so it is unsurprising that most of the ornament is simplistically colored.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Dr. Finklestein" has a sound effect. On the side of the stone base, there is a very obvious button. The button, when pressed, activates the sound effect. The Dr. Finklestein ornament has two different sound clips and neither one is a truly iconic quote from the character. Indeed, one of the sound clips has Finklestein talking to Sally, who is not present on the ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Dr. Finklestein" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Christmas Tree for The Nightmare Before Christmas, the "Dr. Finklestein" ornament is a bit obscure of a subject. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the back, center, of Dr. Finklestein, which is made possible because the character is leaning forward in his wheelchair.

The placement of the loop makes this a fairly well-balanced ornament, though when it is knocked on the tree, it can be frontheavy and require adjustment.


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 major studio with a marketable property jumped on the bandwagon and began merchandising Christmas ornaments, including The Nightmare Before Christmas. "Dr. Finklestein" was the only The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament released in 2016 and fans seemed to like it, though it is quite common. Even so, this ornament appears to be more than adequately produced and is not likely to be a great investment piece. This is an ornament that might be better to wait until after the holiday is over and pick it up at half-price!


This year’s The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament might not fit the scale of some of the other ornaments in the franchise, but it adequately recreates “Dr. Finklestein,” even if the sound clip is somewhat unremarkable.

For other The Nightmare Before Christmas Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2014 "This Is Halloween" ornament
2014 Jack's Peculiar Pet - Limited Edition!
2013 Jack’s Sleigh O’Scares
2012 Jack Sneaks A Peek ornament
2011 A Snowy Surprise The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament
2009 Welcome To Christmastown


For other ornament reviews, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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