I’m not saying I’m her biggest fan but Vanessa Hudgens has done some good stuff, right? Well, she was in Spring Breakers at least. So it does beg the question, how has she got stuck making awful romantic comedies for Netflix every Christmas? You have to wonder what they have over her? Do they know something she wants to keep secret? Or are they holding someone she loves hostage? We’ll probably never know. What we do know, is that she deserves better than that. Last we had her Christmas version of The Parent Trap/The Lizzie McGuire Movie with The Princess Switch. It was dreadful and she was forced to speak with a dreadful British accent for one of the roles. This year, she’s back with The Knight Before Christmas. And I have to say, I bloody love that title. Obviously, I love a pun in any situation but a Christmas pun too? There is a lot of potential in that title alone. But surely, knowing what we do about Netflix Christmas films, it wouldn’t live up to?
I can’t think of a film that uses the time travel, fish out of water narrative well. It’s never as funny as people think it will be. It just ends up being silly and every film is the same. Just because this one is set at Christmas doesn’t make it any different. It’s really obvious what’s going to happen and you get the sense that nobody involved in making this film really cared. These Netflix Original Christmas films are just filmmaking by numbers and are made as quickly as possible. It feels as though any attempt at originality has been left behind. Especially here. They decided to take a tired format, add Christmas magic, and jump on the back of the Game of Thrones popularity.
Vanessa Hudgens is Brooke, a teacher from a small town who is spending Christmas alone. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend and is very anti-love. She encounters a mystery British man who claims to be a Knight from the 14th Century. Brooke believes he has amnesia but, it turns out, Sir Cole was transported forward from his own time in order to fulfil his Knightly destiny. As Sir Cole tries to come to terms with modern life, Brooke tries to help him finish his quest. But what was it that the Old Crone really had in store for him?
The Knight Before Christmas is a really frustrating film. It’s super silly and doesn’t give a shit about history. Not that you really expect realism from this kind of film. It’s the kind of script that thinks making someone say “verily” all the time in a British accent is enough to make them seem olde worlde. It’s so stupid. Then there’s the fact that the quest itself doesn’t make any sense. And it’s not even that great technically. The film is so rushed and the editing is really messy. It really does feel lazy.
What doesn’t feel lazy but does feel super forced, is the fact that Netflix is trying to make some sort of expanded movie universe. It’s like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie but it just makes you cringe. When a character mentions that they got a Christmas decoration from Aldovia my eyes almost rolled out of my head. Then there’s the fact that characters in these movies only ever seem to watch other Netflix Christmas films. As if those, of all the things, would be the thing you use to introduce the 14th-century knight to the modern world.
And who is to blame? It’s us. We started this off by saying things like “these films are so bad they’re actually good”. We gave Netflix the approval to keep churning them out without putting any effort in. They’ve quickly gone from being “so bad they’re funny” to just bad. I’m not sure if I can keep up with the tradition this year.