Hallmark is back with two more entries in their Star Wars Storyteller ornaments line. These vehicles are hyper-detailed, feature persistent LED lighting, and most importantly, add new dialogue and scenes from Star Wars that play on demand. Plus, Hallmark has continued with their greatest Keepsake line of all time – faithful recreations of the original Transformers toys!
The Cheeriest Hunk of Junk in the Galaxy
As usual, Hallmark hits it out of the park when it comes to recreating ships from a galaxy far, far away. This isn’t the first Millennium Falcon ornament from the original Star Wars movie (no rectangular radar dish here); that honor would belong to the Millennium Falcon Keepsake ornament from way back in 1996. Heck, it’s not even the only Falcon in Hallmark’s line up this year! But it is the biggest, most detailed, and most fun!
When you plug the Millennium Falcon into the Keepsake Power Cord, LEDs in the cockpit, top gunner station, and rear engines illuminate and you’ll hear the Falcon powering up. Press the button on the top of the ship and you’ll be treated to a couple of key scenes from the original film.
On its own, it’s a perfect representation of one of the most iconic ships in all of science fiction. But the Storyteller ornaments are even more fun when you bring more to the party.
It’s a Short Range Fighter
The Imperial TIE Fighter is an equally impressive ship, with solar array wings and an impressively greeble-y surface, just like the original models. The cockpit lights up and, like the Falcon, cycles through a full spectrum of holiday-appropriate colors when in standby mode.
It’s not in scale with the Falcon, but for that to happen, it would have to be a lot smaller or the Falcon a lot bigger. We’re talking Christmas ornaments here, not recreating tactical ship combat (for that, see Armada or X-Wing).
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot in the way of movie scenes on the TIE itself. No, this ornament is purpose-built to fill in as the default TIE in all the appropriate spots and has mostly blaster and engine noises as a result (plus one extra Vader phrase for the full scene). They’re the exact sounds from the movie, which is very cool, but they’re no Han and Chewie dropping out of hyperspace.
It Binds the Galaxy Together
When you plug both the Millenium Falcon and TIE Fighter into the Keepsake Cord, they’ll interact when activated, the TIE taking a pass at the Falcon when they drop out of hyperspace near Alderaan and again when they escape the Death Star. It’s a good couple of minutes of Star Wars goodness, but it’s nothing compared to last year’s scene with the Death Star, X-Wing, and TIE Advanced. That’s because, to really enjoy the full potential of the Storyteller ornaments, you have to have the full set. While that’s going to annoy some people, the results are undeniably worth it.
When you plug all five ornaments into the same cord, you not only get extra dialogue and interaction from the Falcon and TIE, you get extra dialogue on the other ornaments as well, resulting in over seven minutes of Star Wars! You still start with the destruction of Alderaan like last year (maybe next year Hallmark will release a sandcrawler and landspeeder so we can get Tatooine), but now you also get the scenes I mentioned above, plus the planting of the tracker on the Falcon, and Han’s last minute save of Luke during the Death Star battle.
It’s enough to put a big, stupid grin on any Star Wars fan’s face.
For That Much We Could Buy Our Own Ship
Enjoying the full Star Wars Storyteller ornament experience is an expensive proposition. Each ornament is $39.99 and the proprietary power cord is $12, bringing the price of a full set to over $200! Obviously, you’ll pay less at once if you get these year by year, but it’s something to keep in mind as you budget for your holiday decorations. The nice thing is that these aren’t limited time release ornaments (unlike the usual seasonal ships). These are always available at Hallmark.com.
If you’re lucky, though, you can catch a “race to the bottom” deal over on Amazon as sellers’ bots try to outdo each other on price. The Amazon listing for the Millenium Falcon is here and you can find the TIE Fighter (currently $5 off!) right here.
Transformers of Christmases Past
On the “most definitely limited edition” side, there’s this year’s Keepsake Transformers ornament! For all you Decepticon fans, we get a faithful rendition of the original Starscream toy from 1984 to go with last year’s Soundwave.
I continue to be impressed by the exacting detail on the Transformers series. For a nostalgia junkie like me, it’s exactly the same as unwrapping the original toys on Christmas morning back when I was a kid. Except there are no pieces to lose, parts to break off, or stickers to mangle. Each ornament in this series is like a pristine memory. It’s that one shining moment when our toys looked perfect (before we absolutely destroyed them).
I can’t recommend Starscream enough. You can even get him directly from Amazon from the official Hallmark account, for $15.99 (don’t pay more to scalpers!).
Thanks to Hallmark for providing samples for this article. Opinions and obsessive fandom are my own.