Two films, two completely different stories, but only one can make it through as my favourite Vanessa Hudgens Christmas film. The Princess Switch, directed by Michael Rohl, was the first one to be released on Netflix in 2018. A year later, The Knight Before Christmas, directed by Monika Mitchell, was also released on Netflix.
In both of these films, we see Vanessa Hudgens meet a dashing Brit and falling in love with them both. In The Princess Switch viewers get to see two different love stories in one film. On the other hand, due to the knight’s situation, The Knight Before Christmas has a lot more comedic elements.
In The Princess Switch, Vanessa Hudgens plays two identical characters who switch places to escape their own lives. One of them is Stacy De Novo, a baker who runs her own bakery in Chicago who is in Belgravia for a competition. The other is Lady Margaret, the Duchess of Montenaro, who is there for a potential engagement to the Prince. As the two characters switch places, they have to adapt to their new lives without anyone finding out, however, sometimes that does not go to plan. It is not just each other’s lifestyle they swap but potentially lovers as well, with romance sparking in nearly every scene.
The first thing I love about this film is the swapping places, I have not seen a film this well executed since The Parent Trap. There are a few funny moments in the film, such as Stacey trying to act like the Duchess without any royal training whatsoever. These little moments are refreshing little breaks from the heavy storyline viewers have to pay attention to.
As much as the storyline is heavy and cliché, it was very sweet to see each Hudgens’ character fall in love. It is more common to see the two main characters fall in love with each other, so it is enlivening to see the two protagonists fall in love with different people. It was pretty much every kids’ dream to marry a prince or princess when they were older, which makes this film so appealing as it awakens that childhood dream in most of us.
There are also moments where the two Hudgens characters almost ran into each other. It kept me fixated on the screen and excitedly tense, which is unique for a romance film. It builds up to a moment where the viewer would think, “This is where their plan fails”, and it doesn’t, it leaves the viewer hyper-aware of potential climaxes.
However, it would have been nice if there was more conflict with the two Vanessa’s falling in love. All Prince Edward has to say is, “We’ll open up a bakery here”, and she is already putting the ring on her finger. The situation would have just felt more passionate if there was something to really fight against.
On the contrary, in The Knight Before Christmas, there is more drama around the ‘falling in love’ part as Sir Cole cannot stay with her, he has to go back into the past. The fact that he cannot stay in the present day forever brings a tear-jerking conflict to the film.
This film is about a knight, Sir Cole (played by Josh Whitehouse), who gets transported into the future by a mysterious woman in the woods. Once there he meets Brooke (played by Vanessa Hudgens) who helps him adjust to present day life. Whilst going on this journey together the two fall in love, however, everyone knows that knights don’t belong in the 21st Century. Whether they make it over that hurdle is for people to watch and find out.
I absolutely love Josh Whitehouse in this film, he made me laugh a lot, so well done to Whitehouse and the script writer. The knights’ cluelessness on how to act in modern day life, such as discovering the television and eating bread rolls out of a packet in the supermarket, is where the comedy gold is. The humour creates a feeling of euphoria and contentment, which makes the watching film feel like you are intoxicated with bliss. The happiness takes the mind away from the expected, that knights do not belong in the present day.
Another aspect of the film I liked was the message behind it, that everyone has their own knight in shining armour out there. It is a very cliché and over-used message, however, it’s heart-warming and gives a sense of hope to people watching. It is a way that everyone who has made this film can psychologically connect with the audience, to appeal to people’s beliefs in love and romance.
Although, this film was lacking something for me and I cannot place my finger on it. In comparison to The Princess Switch, where the storyline never has a dull moment, the 2019 film lacks some engrossing scenes for me. It is like eating a vanilla cheesecake, it’s a nice dessert but it always feels like something is missing when you’re eating it.
For me, The Princess Switch is a better film. According to IMDB ratings, The Princess Switch has a higher viewer rating than The Knight Before Christmas. I am not saying The Knight Before Christmas is a bad film, it definitely is not, there is just more romance and gripping scenes in The Princess Switch that had me hooked from start to finish.