It has been 10 days since I saw The Counsellor, and despite it being an obviously flawed, frustrating film, there's something about it that clings to your subconscious, like recalling the remnants of a nightmare in the cold light of day. Ridley Scott's editor is clearly a goddamn American hero, because he was tasked with cutting down Cormac McCarthy's insanely verbose script for the screen; now, having read McCarthy's original, complete screenplay, I'm happy to share with you a few things I've noticed when comparing page to film.
'Exciting on paper' is a bit of an oxymoron. Nothing's exciting on paper. Books aren't exciting, unless you throw them at passing cars to make them crash. Cormac McCarthy is a man who writes these so-called 'books', and he's said to be very good at it. And so The Counsellor, his first original screenplay, with a first-rate director and cast, is tremendously exciting on paper. Trouble is, paper and film are very different things.
For all the talk of Prometheus "sharing the same DNA" as Alien, Ridley Scott's prequel doesn't bear much family resemblance to its granddaddy. The economy of horror that served his 1979 effort so well is replaced by a big-budget, star-gazing sci-fi that wants you to know it has size on its side. Hugely ambitious and staggering in its grand designs, Prometheus is almost hamstrung by the fact it is an Alien movie at all – the mishmash of grotesque body-horror and chin-stroking existentialism does not always make for the most coherent movie, but it is at least an entertaining one and certainly no black mark on the franchise.
Every other movie website has already posted this latest UK trailer for Ridley "it's not a prequel to Alien, honest!" Scott's prequel to Alien Prometheus, but it's so spine-tinglingly good it feels like an honour just being allowed to copy and paste the YouTube embed code.