Ridley Scott is a sturdy hand at the helm of this overly familiar but assuredly entertaining Alien prequel
Whatever one hopes or dreads from this sequel to Prometheus, prequel to Alien, you can always count on Ridley Scott, creator of worlds, to serve up fantastic visuals and tell his story well. Whether it's the story you want to see depends where you are on the Alien-ometer — from tired of it all, to on the fence, to complete obsessive. It's very well done, but is it strictly necessary?
A cool, dispassionate opening scene that is in tone more Kubrick than Scott sees the return of an uncredited Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland, the Alien-verse's brilliant billionaire founder of the sinister company bearing his name; he's discussing creation, life and death with his unnerving prototype sentient 'synthetic' David (Michael Fassbender).
Then we leap to the year 2104, aboard the spaceship Covenant, where later model sentient Walter (Fassbender again) keeps watch on the systems, 15 slumbering crew, 2,000 colonists in stasis and over 1,000 'second generation' embryos on ice, all of them bound for a new life on an Earth-like world. A freak stellar phenomenon gets the crew up to deal with a catastrophe (don't blink or you'll miss James Franco) and a mysterious signal sends them to an unknown planet that is nearer and looks spectacularly beautiful and habitable. (And a lot like New Zealand, imagine that.) Then some of them come across little egg things, which you know cannot be good, and a familiar face turns up with quite a tale to tell about the fate of the Prometheus survivors ten years earlier…