February. It's cold, it's dark, and it's still two till the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, the surprisingly heartwarming spy movie that charts the evolution of an underprivileged teen from caterpillar to super-spy! (I mean, butterfly.) Don't let all the R-rated action fool you, this is a feel-good movie at heart, and it knows it. (There are even puppies!)
In this new clip, Harry Hart tries to explain this concept to his potential protege, and gets something of a surprise when they hit on the right film comparison...
My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman, Trading Places and Nikita - all amazing movies centered on a character's self-improvement (with a little help). In honor of Eggsy and his metamorphosis into a Kingsman, lets take a look at some other examples of feel-good films that will warm the cockles of your heart, and remind you that humble origins are no barrier to happiness.
Note: These movies were chosen for the pygmalion/transformation element in Kingsman, so many of them are much more family friendly than the new movie. This is the only similarity I was looking for between them.
1. My Fair Lady
This classic film follows the adventures of a snooty upper-class scholar who makes a bet that he can transform an adorably waifish flower seller into a passable high-society lady, and learns something about himself and his prejudices along the way. We all know how this one ends, but it's still very much worth the watch for the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn and catchy showtunes. This remains the best-known of it's style, and with good reason! Bonus fun fact: despite being better known, My Fair Lady is actually a remake of the 1938 black-and-white classic Pygmalion, even "borrowing" the character names.
If you liked this, check out: Pygmalion, Pretty Woman, Easter Parade, Funny Face
2. The Princess Diaries
Taking wish-fulfillment to the ultimate level, this teen movie centers on dorky schoolgirl Mia Thermopolis (you know she's really dorky because she has glasses and frizzy hair) as she finds out that she is actually the heir to the throne of a teeny tiny country called Genovia. Princess lessons, stylists and a personal limo may seem like a dream, but it comes with lots of the usual high-school problems; cute guys, falling out with her BFF, and figuring out that having perfect hair doesn't mean you'll never make a fool of yourself. This film is very sweet and simple, and has a lot of funny moments that will also make you cringe. You may want to offer some babysitting services if you feel a little too old to watch it on your own...
If you liked this, check out these other royal transformations: Welcome To America, The King And I
2. George Of The Jungle
Ape-man turned gentleman is practically a genre to itself now, but I have to admit a soft spot for this 1997 Tarzan re-make. Starring Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann, this isn't the most subtle or classy take on the classic, but it's childishly funny and all heart. After being saved by Tarzan...uh, I mean George... the adorable Ursula decides to bring her friendly jungle-man back to San Francisco, where he may cause problems for her and her fiancee, the dastardly Lyle. Add in a talking ape, a meddling mother and a pair of less-than-competent poachers, and you have a great family film.
If you like this, check out these other civilized savages: Tarzan (any one of the many live action versions), Tarzan (the Disney version), Pocahontas
3. Point Of No Return (aka Assassin)
Not in the mood for family-friendly? Not to worry, there's plenty of sex and violence in this 1993 film about a drug addict sentenced to death for murder, and given the choice between death and re-training as a lady/government assassin. Her handler fulfills the role of teacher/kindly uncle figure, and of course, there's a love story to round it all out. While it's not always the most believable (doesn't your bodyguard carry a rocket launcher when you go to dinner!?), it's high-octane and bittersweet at the same time.
If you like this, check out the other action-movie transformations: The Karate Kid, La Femme Nikita, Rocky
4. Anne Of Green Gables
Irrepressible waifish girl? Check! Stern teacher overly concerned with proper behavior? Check! Kindly uncle figure to help out? Absolutely! Anne of Green Gables is a book-turned-movie that has been busy warming hearts for over a hundred years, and never fails. If you've never read it, Anne (with-an-e), is a redheaded orphan who is positive and curious to the point of being almost annoying. The Cuthberts are siblings living on a farm, who got sent Anne after requesting a boy to help with the work (this being back in a time where you could order children from orphanages). The rest... well, have you been paying attention to any of these films? Obviously everyone learns something and we get a happy ending! That said, this one isn't all sunshine and rainbows, so keep tissues to hand...
If you liked this, here are some more child-centric films: Mary Poppins, Annie, Candleshoe (bonus treasure hunt!)
5. Mean Girls
Back to the teen movies! Mean Girls is another level of teenage wish-fulfillment, as the new girl in school is taught how to pass herself off as one of the popular types in order to infiltrate the queen bees and take them down from the inside. (Which is about as likely to happen as discovering that you are the heir of Genovia, but movies aren't always about realism.) Cut to the usual changes in appearance and conversation, and the knowledge that by the end of the film, everyone will have learned something about themselves, and the audience is reassured that popularity isn't as important as being true to yourself. All together now....aaawwwwww.
In the mood for more teen transformations?: She's All That, Never Been Kissed, Grease, Can't Buy Me Love
Kingsman is released on the 13th February.
Which are your favorite pygmalion movies for a cold day? Which would you add to the list? Comment below and let me know!