'The Principle' takes on cosmology, Earth's place in universe

'The Principle' aims to restore Earth's former status as the center of the universe

Copernicus, shmernicus!

That's the geocentric gist of "The Principle," a shrewdly orchestrated documentary that's intent on restoring Earth's former status as the center of the universe — the going belief until a guy named Nicolaus Copernicus gave the planet a cosmic inferiority complex.

But what begins as a lively, colorfully illustrated primer — a brief history of cosmology from Ptolemy to Einstein — abruptly shifts gears, drawing a clear battle line in the dark matter dividing scientists and theologians.

Written by Rick DeLano and directed by Katheryne Ktee Thomas, the film has already made news, with narrator Kate Mulgrew apologizing for ever getting involved. One of the assembled talking heads, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, has asserted that his words were misrepresented in the film.

Meanwhile, another prominent interviewee, author and "The Principle" executive producer Robert Sungenis, has faced past accusations of being an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier.

All that baggage aside, you don't need the Hubble Telescope to spot the film's evident creationist agenda.

One just wishes that the filmmakers had made this a more open debate on religion versus science instead of a documentary that too often feels manipulatively Machiavellian in its presentation of all those "irrefutable" facts and findings.

"The Principle."

MPAA rating: PG for thematic elements.

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Playing: AMC Burbank Town Center 8, AMC Orange 30.

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