Time travel is plenty popular in entertainment world

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

Time travel is usually presented as dangerous and undesirable (Will Ferrell being chased by dinosaurs in “Land of the Lost”) or sinister (“Looper” where someone is sent back in time to kill someone and alter a future event).

But living in the past can be an alternative lifestyle that's positive and attractive.

Although the characters in “Maple and Vine” may have made their leap back to the '50s without using a time portal, science-fiction and fantasy genres are full of stories where people use time travel to relocate to an earlier, happier era for positive reasons such as love or adventure or both.

Here's a small selection of movies and books about them:

• “Midnight in Paris” (2011). A young screenwriter, played by Owen Wilson, believes life was better in the 1920s in this Woody Allen film. As he rambles through the late-night streets of Paris, he finds himself hob-nobbing with Ernest Hemingway, Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and other occupants of their world.

• “The Forbidden Kingdom” (2008). Jackie Chan and Jet Li head up this adventure tale of a kung-fu kicking modern Boston lad who embarks on the adventure of his life when he picks up an old weapon in a Chinatown pawnshop and finds himself transported to ancient China.

• “Kate and Leopold” (2001). Hugh Jackman plays Leopold, a financially distressed Duke living in New York City in 1876. When he accidentally walks through a time portal, he finds himself still in New York, but it's 2001. He falls in love with a successful businesswoman, played by Meg Ryan. But there's a time limit on how long he can stay.

• “The Love Letter” (1998). Based on a short story by Jack Finney, this TV movie features a modern man and a Civil War-era woman (Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh) exchanging love letters through an antique desk.

• “Pleasantville” (1998). A brother and sister (Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) from the 1990s are sucked into their television set and suddenly find themselves trapped in a 1950s-style television show. Unable to find their way back to the '90s, they adapt but can't help bringing change and color to their new home.

• “Time Bandits” (1986). John Cleese, Shelly Duvall and Sean Connery star in this Terry Gillam movie about a young boy who discovers a time hole in his wardrobe that connects him to a band of dwarfs who take him on their adventures.

• “Back to the Future” (1985). Teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his existence. In two sequels, McFly travels to 2015 and 1885 on other adventures.

• “Somewhere in Time” (1980). Christopher Reeve plays a young playwright who encounters an older actress, played by Jane Seymour, who was famous in the early 1900s. When she begs him “Come back to me,” he becomes obsessed with her and uses self hypnosis to travel back in time to meet her younger self. They fall in love. But their love might not be enough to overcome the time difference and allow the playwright to remain in an earlier era. Based on Richard Matheson's 1980 novel “Bid Time Return.”


• “1 122/63” by Stephen King (2011). A high school English teacher walks through a portal in the rear of a diner in his Maine hometown and finds himself 50 years in the past in Jolie, Texas. He has been sent back to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy.

• “Replay” by Ken Grimwood (1998). A 40-something man and woman, each of whom die in 1988, awaken to find they've been returned to their teenaged selves and 1963, but with the wisdom and experience of their older selves.

• “Time and Again” by Jack Finney (1970). An illustrator working on a 1970s secret government project walks out of his Manhattan apartment in the Dakota and finds himself in 1882. Has he successfully hypnotized himself into a fantasy, or has he journeyed back in time? In a sequel, “From Time to Time,” (1996) Finney's character makes a return visit to the past. This time his mission is to prevent World War I.

• “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court” by Mark Twain (1889). A Connecticut engineer is hit on the head and awakens at King Arthur's Court in England. Using his Victorian-era knowledge of technology and his American political perspective, he sets out to reform and improve life in the 6th century. Bing Crosby starred in the 1949 Paramount movie of the same name.

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