The Greatest Sci-Fi Hallmark Ornaments

While Hallmark’s Star Wars and Star Trek ornaments are well known holiday merchandise, we cannot forget the other related Hallmark genre ornaments. No, not the Harry Potter stuff, though those ornaments are great, but the ornaments based on popular science fiction films and TV shows. Although they’re not as numerous as Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments, they’re just as well-crafted. It’s too bad more aren’t produced because these sci-fi Hallmark ornaments are great gifts and additions to any fan’s Christmas tree. These are the best ones created to date, hopefully more will come in the future.

avatar ornament

10. Avatar Jake Sully (Avatar, 2010):

Fans can easily imagine that the tatted-up warrior hero from Avatar is protecting a giant mother tree with this dynamically posed ornament.

9. Nautilus (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 2011):

The miniature version of Captain Nemo’s steampunk sub is a faithful recreation of the Disney’s 1950s adaptation.

rocketeer ornament

8. High Flying Hero (The Rocketeer, 2014):

This was one of those limited-edition Hallmark ornaments that is hard to find, even when it was released. It would make a fine gift for any fan of the underrated gem of a film.

7. Alien (Alien, 2014):

One would think this kind of ornament would never work. Seriously, this alien creature is the stuff of nightmares. But it works thanks to its meticulous detailing and organic exo-skeletal look that somehow fits within a tree.

6. Cylon Centurion (Battlestar Galactica, 2011):

The sound effects of the distinctive robotic Cylon voice (“By your command”) is the highlight of this sci-fi Hallmark ornament. If only Hallmark would make more ornaments of either version of Battlestar Galactica, including the ships. “Sigh”

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The Pixar Films Ranked

Now that Incredibles 2 has been released, Pixar AnimationStudios has twenty full-length films in its library. This is a good number to rank the Pixar films. Bear in mind that these animated films are among the best films ever made and even those that rank at the bottom have their moments. Be sure to comment below on how you would rank the Pixar films, which are universally considered the gold standard with animated films these days.

20. Brave

It was neck and neck between this and Cars 2 for the bottom spot.  What made Brave earn this spot was that ultimately the story was dull and came off as a generic Disney princess-proves-herself yarn we’ve seen too often. The hair animation was nice, though.

19. Cars 2

This is possibly the most unwanted sequel in Pixar’s history. The only thing going for the first sequel to Cars is its above-average animation, but the story about ‘Mater caught up in a spy caper is strictly aimed at kids who won’t know any better.

18. Cars 3

The third film in the Cars trilogy has some good moments about making comebacks and passing the torch for the next generation. Although the animation is up to Pixar’s loftiest standards, Cars 3 cannot shake the stigma of being an unwanted sequel to one of Pixar’s lesser efforts.

17. The Good Dinosaur

It seems as if Disney (and Pixar) has a hard time coming up with a memorable dinosaur film. How hard can it be? This film about a dinosaur and his pet human boy was interesting to watch but it lacked the special Pixar touch. What’s worse is that there isn’t anything remarkable about this film.

16. Cars

This can be considered Pixar’s first misfire, but that is unfair. Cars is not a bad movie, it’s just that it didn’t knock it out of the park as previous Pixar films have done. It’s an enjoyable film though its underwhelming plot about a hotshot racecar finding himself in a backwater town was lifted straight from Doc Hollywood.

15. Monsters University

The prequel to Monsters, Inc. (and the first Pixar prequel ever done) presents the unasked for tale of how the leads Mike and Sully first met as college roommates. It’s a fun watch, and much of the humor was aimed at children, but its message about accepting your limitations in life came off as a downer.

13. Finding Dory

The sequel to Finding Nemo is a worthy followup that further explores the enchanting underwater world and the popular characters from the first film. We also meet great new characters, and overall it’s a fun film with some tender moments, though its message about animal captivity is a bit too-on-the-nose.

13. Monsters, Inc.

The fourth Pixar film introduced a fascinating world of monsters that was quite hysterical at times. The highlights of the film were the voice acting by John Goodman and Billy Crystal who had great chemistry and timing. The relationship between Sully and the human girl “Boo” was simply adorable and would melt any cynic’s heart.

12. A Bug’s Life

The sophomore effort from Pixar kind of got lost among all of Pixar’s other offerings. This is because the animation is a bit rough by today’s standards and other films better captured fans’ hearts. Still, A Bug’s Life is a splendid tribute to Seven Samurai (or The Magnificent Seven) with a great score.

11. Ratatouille

This animated film stood out from the others with its ode to the art of cooking. It’s an unusual tale about a rat that wants to become a great chef which may not resonate as well as other Pixar films. But it’s beautifully animated and the themes about perception and artistry are well executed.

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Top Ten Sci-Fi Film Couples

It’s that time of year lovers! In commemoration of Valentine’s Day, here are the silver screen’s most romantic couples in the world of science fiction. The films they appear in aren’t always romances, actually, one of the entries on this list comes from a gritty, action-packed movie. The fact is there aren’t many sci-fi romantic films, so the focus is on the characters in a sci-fi film. Either way, these characters made for memorable couples and romances.

10. Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese (The Terminator): OK this is a bit of a stretch. Romance in The Terminator? The one with all the explosions and darkness? Yes, it isn’t apparent when Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) first saves Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from the T-800, but as the movie progresses, the two begin to bond, culminating in a tender and passionate love moment.  Their brief encounter comes as a welcome relief in the midst of all the gore and gunfire and leads to humanity’s savior, their son John Connor.

9. Jake Sully and Neytiri (Avatar): Blue alien love baby! This film presents every sci-fi geek’s wish of having a big blue alien as a girlfriend. The love between Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) builds gradually. Initially she’s disgusted by him but then starts to admiring him until love took hold.  And towards the end, viewers see that her love for him is transcendent even after she sees Jake in his frail human form.

8. Superman and Lois Lane (Superman and Superman II): From the moment that Superman (Christopher Reeve) saved intrepid reporter Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) from the helicopter accident and made his world debut, she only had eyes for the big boy scout. The sweeping romance continued in the sequel but ended in one big copout.

7. WALL-E and EVE (WALL-E): This is one unconventional romance, it’s between two robots but that’s science fiction. Ultimately the two exemplify the notion of opposites attract. WALL-E is a curious, Chaplinesque garbage robot, EVE is a suave, tough, and pristine scout robot. Naturally, he falls head over tank treads for EVE but she only comes to love him during the film as they save humanity.

6. Henry  and Claire DeTamble (The Time Traveler’s Wife): Relationships are hard, but how much harder is it when your husband has a genetic abnormality that makes him time travel uncontrollably throughout his lifetime? That’s what viewers see when Henry (Eric Bana) literally pops in and out of the life of Claire (Rachel McAdams), even on their wedding day! Warning: the ending is a tearjerker.

5. H.G. Welles and Amy Robbins (Time After Time): This underappreciated sci-fi film has H.G. Welles (Malcolm McDowell) time traveling to San Francisco in 1979 to track down Jack the Ripper. Along the way, the sweetly naive Welles meets strong-willed, modern  bank teller Amy (Mary Steenburgen) and they soon have an affair. The chemistry the actors shared was obvious (they even got married in real life for a time) and made the film more special.

4. Cornelius and Zira (Planet Of The Apes and Escape From The Planet Of The Apes): Their relationship wasn’t the center of attention in the first film but forms a strong foundation in the third film. Across the first three Apes films viewers see a tender, loving simian couple who strongly respect and cherish one another. Sadly, this makes the end of the third film so heartbreaking when they are brutally killed. It’s still hard to watch Zira’s (Kim Hunter) final moments when she embraces Cornelius’ (Roddy McDowall) body as she dies.

3. Doc Brown and Clara Clayton (Back To The Future, Part III): Marty McFly’s time-traveling partner (Christopher Lloyd) is trapped in the 1880s but finds existence there to be rewarding thanks to a chance encounter with schoolteacher Clara (Mary Steenburgen again). She gets extra bonus points from us since she’s a big science fiction fan! The tortured choices that Doc faces on whether or not to return to the present or stay with his true love really do a number on him. But alas, love conquers all.

2. Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back): Who would’ve thought of it? A scruffy, unpolished smuggler and a headstrong, independent space princess falling for each other. Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) relationship lift the first Star Wars sequel with their romantic tension and squabbling that reaches a climax when they first kiss passionately while fixing the Millennium Falcon. Plus, as every fan knows the film has one of the greatest comeback line to “I love you.”

1. Starman/”Scott Hayden” and Jenny Hayden (Starman): Poor Jenny (Karen Allen) is still mourning the death of her husband when she gets the shock of her life when he is reborn in front of her. Actually the resurrected Scott is a stranded alien (Jeff Bridges) who takes her husband’s form and enlists her help to get back to a rescue spaceship. Like any romantic road trip picture, the two don’t quite connect at first but begin to like then love each other. What helps the romance are the passionate performances by both actors, John Carpenter’s direction and the haunting yet uplifting score by Jack Nitzsche.

Finally, let’s give a shout out to those without a beloved on Valentine’s Day and mention the big screen’s best would-be lovers. In an ode to unrequited love in the realm of science fiction that honor goes to Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin) from Serenity.

Annette DeForrester