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'Time Machine' better left in the past

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HG. Wells published his novel "The Time Machine" a century ago, and George Pal directed a first-rate film version in 1960. They're both so excellent that I wondered if a new remake was necessary. Would it be as good-natured as the Eloi our hero meets in the future - or an apish Morlock of a movie with no imagination of its own?

I'm sorry to report the Morlocks have won. The new "Time Machine," directed by Wells's great-grandson Simon Wells, starts with a pleasant dose of nostalgia, introducing hero Alexander Hartdegen as a likable professor at the turn of the 20th century. True to the novel, he journeys into the distant future where life is a tragic standoff between innocent Eloi and cannibalistic Morlocks.

The movie goes sour when it reveals its roots in today's Hollywood, overdoing the love angle - between Hartdegen and an Eloi who just happens to speak English - and then the violent stuff, especially when a diabolical Uber-Morlock turns up.

If you want a movie time trip, the 1960 version is a far smoother ride.

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