Ridley Scott returns to the director's chair to helm his third film of the 'Alien' franchise (firsts being 'Alien' and 'Prometheus'). This one kinda fills in the gap between the events of 'Prometheus' and 'Alien'.
Our basic plot here involves a group of colonists on board a ship called the Covenant who are destined for a set planet to inhabit. On their way, however, several crew members are awoken from hyper-sleep due to a neutrino burst, and some are killed in the process as well.
While attempting to repair the ship, the crew stumbles on a signal coming from a fairly nearby planet. Upon discussion, it becomes mostly agreed upon by the crew that the closer planet is a safer bet to set down as opposed to their otherwise 7-year journey in hyper sleep. Upon reaching the planet, several of the crew head down to explore while others stay behind to keep the colonists safe in the meantime. Once on the ground, however, things start to go awry in fairly typical Alien movie fashion, mixing the gross-out horror we've come to know from these guys and yet still holding it's own originality.
If I have one complaint about the movie, in truth, I couldn't help but find that it was rather slow. I suppose slow with a purpose, but it ends up being another case of expecting one thing from the trailer and getting delivered something different. It's a bit of a double-edged sword because while the original ideas and concepts for the Aliens' species here DO turn out to be pretty awesome, there's still a total lack of actual Alien activity throughout.
When I say "slow with a purpose", what I mean by that is the movie is more set around themes of creation, a bit of "playing God", and the inevitable flaws that will follow if you become too greedy with it all. To make things more interesting, however, the arguments and debates in question generally take place between two androids whom humans created in the first place. I admit that the whole thing does add some intrigue to it all.
One thing to admire here, though, is that it keeps the blood and gore flowing in true 'Alien' fashion, and yet not everyone added to the body count dies at the hands of one single type of alien (like in 1 or 3) but there's quite a variety of new and terrifying creatures to add to the Alien family list. Perhaps most disturbing being the "alien spores" that just come from an... Alien turd? I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, it's a tiny cloud that finds any body cavity it can infect, heads on in, and next thing you know you're giving birth to a new type of Alien called a "Neomorph". To make things a bit more scary, there's no telling where this pale little bastard will burst from. But damn, it's some of the coolest gross-out horror I've seen in some time.
While it's most definitely not even close to touching the first two films in quality, I probably would place it above 3 and 4. One should probably go into this thinking of it as more of a 'Prometheus' sequel with an intriguing plot than an 'Alien' prequel with Xenomorphs running around all over the place and human beings being badasses and fighting them off. But DO keep in mind the intriguing plot at least. It kinda opens up a new perspective on the whole franchise.