You said basically everything I intended to say. I liked the fact that this mission to discover the origins of humanity was an expedition by a bunch of lunatics funded by a lunatic obsessed with pseudoscience.
And my view of the movie may have been colored by Michael Fassbender. I knew his character was going to be obsessed with Lawrence of Arabia almost instantly. And it's not that he looks a thing like O'Toole, and it's not just his appearance. His mannerisms tell the story. Playing an android? He could have chosen to do what Jude Law did in Artificial Intelligence, which was to mimic Brent Spiner. But no, he's a sentient android who has a Lawrence of Arabia fetish and a hidden agenda, and it's conveyed almost entirely through emotion. I sometimes wonder how good of a Deckard he would have been. Or Roy.
EDIT: O'Toole, not Olivier. Thank you robotmonkeys for pointing out what an idiot I am. :->
I honestly feel like people were determined to hate this before they ever saw it, and chose to nitpick the things that were intentionally there. It's not going to go down in cinematic history, sure, but man, people seemed to have missed out on a decent movie that just happened to exist in the Alien universe.