Once upon a time, Ridley Scott posed the theory: In space, nobody can hear you scream. He then place a crew of humans in space with a seemingly indestructible alien being - with acid for blood and an appetite for screaming people. That was 1979, after which he stepped away and James Cameron took over seven years later with "Aliens".


The suspense was gone and it was merely a shoot-em-up with lots of firepower and a couple of tough gals in Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn. But it was entertaining to see the people running and screaming again and again. Daivid Fincher took the helm for "Alien 3" in 1992 after an early career making music videos. It kinda-sorta was entertaining and made a bit on money, but it really should have ended the series.


Did I say it made a bit of money? Well that clearly means there needs to be more, thus 1997's "Alien Ressurection" directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet that merely made use of the costume and Sigourney Weaver's need to earn some money. It failed in the US, but had global sales of $161 million off a $75 million investment. Which meant there would be more. Two more, in fact with Paul W Anderson helming "Alien Vs. Predator" in 2004 and 2007's "Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem" helmed by the Strause brothers in their first feature length film. Finally one that didn't turn a huge profit and we though we'd seen the last of the franchise.

But Ridley felt he had more to say an convince some folks to pony up $130 million for his 2012 prequel "Prometheus" with Charlize theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace. The film dared to delve into the origins of the human race and the aliens. With Scoot back behind the wheel, "Prometheus" delivered an amazing $403 million worldwide with $126 million coming from the domestic end. Ergo...


This should be called the origin story for sentient David (Fassbender) as the film opens with him, freshly constructed by his human inventor. He quickly reveals that he finds it odd that a inferior creature could create him, especially since the human will die.


The film fast forwards to the Covenant space ship with sentient Walter (also Fasbender) tending to the ship while the humans sleep. The ship is filled with colonist and human embryos for a new planet. But a solar flares pops up and damages the ship giving Walter cause to wake the crew for repairs. They complete repairs and soon discover a message from a planet nearer to them than their destination planet. The fill-in captain (Billy Crudup) decides to take a look since it seems the planet might be more suitable than their destination planet.

Sure enough - as if you didn't see this coming - the crew learns the fate of the Prometheus and the death and destruction of the inhabitants of the planet who seem to be human.


The only one left on the planet is David and thousands of alien embryos pulsating in their little cocoons. It's a trap and after a couple of crew members get wiped, the though finally occurs to get the hell out of dodge. If you remember any part of the original, you already know the rest of the story.


It is so predictable you can feel the meeting between David and Walter isn't going to be nice. You find yourself pulling for the women...again...because they are the only ones left besides Walter/David. Oh, and the alien.


Technically, "Alien: Covenant" is visually outstanding and stylish. The aliens are more digitized now and not merely lumbering around in costumes. But sadly the story is the same as it was 38-years ago and it barely cleared the confusion of the Prometheus adventure and the big, giant people they discovered. We do get answers about David and the relationship between sentients and aliens....and possibly Mother (the computer).


Ridley Scott has a couple of other Alien films on his agenda - provided this one turns out to be the cash cow 20th Century Fox hopes it will be; if so perhaps he can progress the storyline.


"Alien: Covenant" tries in vein to explain "Prometheus" but ends up being a film about an alien chasing and killing a bunch of humans on a large spaceship with the help of the robot crewman. After 38-years Ridley Scoot returns to the "Alien" script.   -- GEOFF BURTON