Well, it’s almost the end of December so this will be my last Holiday-Palooza for this year, anyway. When I started this entire thing out, I started with a couple of Netflix holiday flicks starring former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens. As I kind of liked both of those movies, I did want to see her in another Christmas movie produced by Netflix. So, it only felt right I close out this year’s Holiday-Palooza with the other Netflix Christmas film starring Vanessa Hudgens. That film being The Knight Before Christmas.
The Knight Before Christmas tells the tale of a knight named Sir Cole who is magically transported from December 18, 1334 to present times. Sir Cole learns that, in order to return back to his own time, he must complete a mysterious quest which will make him a “true knight.” We also encounter Brooke, a school teacher who has given up on love after breaking up with her boyfriend. On her way home, Brooke accidentally runs into Sir Cole (literally with her car) and, thinking he’s a performer in the local Christmas town but struck with amnesia, he decides to take him in.
During my look at The Princess Switch and The Princess Switch: Switched Again, I mentioned how Netflix seems to be copying established formulas from other holiday movies produced by either Hallmark or Disney. The Knight Before Christmas is no different as if feels like a weird mix of both. I will say it leans more towards the Disney side, thanks to the magical elements of time travel. Even so, the overall wholesome and safe tone makes me feel like it still borrows elements from other Hallmark holiday films. It’s this strange dissonance that makes The Knight Before Christmas feel rather disorienting to me. Maybe it’s because I’m much more familiar with Disney Original Movies than the ones Hallmark produces.
The overall plot is, honestly, very shallow and you never feel and sense of urgency from Sir Cole right from the very time he plunges into present times. He’s supposed to be under this strict time limit of figuring out his quest and completing it in roughly a week’s time. Yet he just dilly-dallies with Brooke for a majority of his days. He comes off as too calm and collected but, then again, this is a Disney/Hallmark kind of film. Was I supposed to expect anything different? Oh, they still do play off the entire “fish out of water” scenario as he’s unaccustomed to stuff like modern technology and food names. I just feel he’s too… okay with the entire situation.
I will also have to add that The Knight Before Christmas is super uneventful. I mentioned Sir Cole doesn’t really do all that much to complete and even figure out what his quest is supposed to be. That’s putting it very mildly! He doesn’t really do any real searching on what deed he’s needs to accomplish. He does help some people here and there by being such an “aw, shucks” nice guy, which really gives it the Hallmark flavor of bland but super nice male protagonists. However, he’s never worried he’ll return back to his original time. I mean, if he’s not worried, why should the viewer?
The acting all throughout The Knight Before Christmas is serviceable. Josh Whitehouse, who plays Sir Cole, does come off as really genuine as this out of place knight who still plays by chivalry’s code of conduct but, as he’s just too nice, he never really gets to flex his acting muscles to show any range. Vanessa Hudgens plays Brooke and, sadly, doesn’t really get to do anything but smile to the camera and look cute. There is some chemistry between the two but it’s fake artificial chemistry. I mean, you can see they’re trying to make it work but it never made me believe they’re destined to become a couple at the end.
After the two leads, there’s nothing really left to say as all of the secondary characters are all one-dimensional. I don’t even recall if they had any names and I just refer to them by their roles in the story. There’s Brooke’s sister and her daughter. There’s the father who’s poor. There’s also the helpful police man. There is one exception to this but it’s only because she wasn’t given a name. She’s just called “old crone.” I mean, who doesn’t like calling someone “old crone?” It just rolls off the tongue!
There are a couple of things I did like from The Knight Before Christmas. I did like how it indirectly teaches viewers how you can generally safely cross over a bed of thin ice by crawling on your belly to safety (it spreads your entire weight over a larger area instead of just your feet) and medieval traditions such as choosing the bread which had a bean in it made you get a wish. These things, however, are kind of like “reverse nitpicking” in the sense these are the moments I liked but they’re incredibly negligible moments in the score of the film. It’s like I’m just trying to find things I liked in something I didn’t.
On that same line of thinking, I really did want to like The Knight Before Christmas. It’s almost like it’s trying to be this wholesome and inoffensive Christmas classics viewers will fall in love with so much to watch it each and every Christmas season. Also, I found a new admiration for Vanessa Hudgens after watching the two Princess Switch films so I really wanted her to be good in this movie. However, it does fail to capture the imagination and just is so plain and, honestly, feels rather soulless. There’s just no real heart to The Knight Before Christmas. I guess it’s okay for this knight to actually get lost in time so it can be forgotten. That’s where this film is headed anyway.
Have you see The Knight Before Christmas? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!