I didn’t see Alien, Aliens, or Alienses at the cinema, so was pretty excited to see Prometheus. That said, I couldn’t help but overhear the internet’s generally negative murmurings. So I went in determined to like what I could. And there is plenty to like. But probably not enough.

It’s really pretty. Amazing visuals, and some stirring moments when designs from Alien recur.

It has some very tense, expertly directed moments.

It has some fantastic actors: Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace and the apparently always-awesome Michael Fassbender.

It also has Charlize Theron in it, who is grumpy for most of it, but smiles at one point, which is very very nice. Gosh, she’s pretty. And a good actor. Though even she isn’t enough to get me to see Snow White and the Huntsman.

All these things aside though, if you want to enjoy the film, you will need to check your brain at the door. Because it really doesn’t make an awful lot of sense, in an awful lot of ways. I won’t go into all of them, because others have done it better, but David’s motivations and actions are the most irritating, especially as they taint a potentially awesome character.

There is one over-riding theme that irritates you more and more as you ponder over it: where is everyone getting their ideas in this movie? Weyland and Shaw particularly seem convinced of some massive leaps of faith with little-to-no evidence. One could uncharitably suggest that the writers noticed this and threw in the “it’s what I choose to believe” dream sequence just to fluff over it. They just believe silly things. That’s their way. Move on.

Also, the film has an unfortunate line in explaining everything to the audience. Text can be on screen for many, many seconds in full-view, but characters still insist on reading it out anyway. Details are repeated. After swearing at David for hanging up on her, Vickers feels the need to explain (to no one in particular) that yes, he did, in fact, hang up on her.

To add insult to injury, some of the nonsense is backed up with pretty ropey dialogue. My personal non-favourite was the clichéd ‘dying man declaring that there’s nothing after death despite not actually being dead yet and hence presumably not in a position to make a definitive call on the subject’, but there were many contenders.

So: beautiful, but frustratingly bad.

This isn’t strictly related to the film, but that trailer is freaking ridiculous. I was stunned to realise late in the movie that I knew stuff that happened in the last thirty minutes, killing a potentially fun twist in the story. There should be laws against this sort of thing.

Tom Charman Mastodon