Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Alien: Covenant'

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Aliens are back at the box office this weekend, with the franchise returning to the big screen in a new installment.

Aliens are back at the box office this weekend, with the franchise returning to the big screen in a new installment.

"Alien: Covenant" is the sixth film, and it's being called the most satisfying since the first two in the series came out decades ago. "Covenant" arrives five years after "Prometheus" failed to impress, so it's up to this one to serve as a successful revival.

The aliens are busting out of human bodies once again, and the new movie should be enough for fans of the series to feel reinvigorated. But it should also encourage younger moviegoers to seek out the superior original movie from 1979.

"Covenant" takes its name from the spaceship carrying a group of colonists from earth to a distant planet. Actress Katherine Waterston makes a major bid for stardom as Daniels, alongside well-known actors like Michael Fassbender and Danny McBride.

Billy Crudup's character takes over after the mission's captain is killed, and his decision to land well short of their destination does not work out well.

The expedition discovers massive evidence of an earlier mission gone awry, and particles become monsters soon after.

The lone survivor of that previous venture is a so-called synthetic, a manufactured person played by Fassbender in a dual role. His other character is aboard Covenant, and they look a lot alike.

The events take place before the original Alien, making it a prequel that some feel is too predictable. There are also a lot of unanswered questions, and audiences don't learn enough about the individual characters.

Still, watching Fassbender play opposite himself is fascinating enough to recommend the movie, though it falls far short of the great original "Alien" that caused nightmares almost 40 years ago.
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