It seems to me that since the first Alien movie hit the big screen back in 1979, the franchise has been frantically searching for the magic formula that made the first film such an amazing success.
It was a truly remarkable film, with shocks and incredible visuals, all set in a claustrophobic setting.
Aliens came close, but the two subsequent movies began to falter.
Ignore the silly Alien v Predator nonsense and we have 2012’s Prometheus which, apart from a ridiculous scene that probably still haunts Charlize Theron, has improved with age.
But nothing has reached the dizzying heights of that initial film and this latest effort is no exception.
It’s certainly not a bad movie; there are some great sections and it’s filmed with typical Ridley Scott eye-catching visuals.
But there is a distinct feeling of deja vu.
After an initial scene involving Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and his simulant creation David (Michael Fassbender), we fast forward in time to onboard the Covenant, a colony ship heading towards a distant planet.
However, an unexpected incident means some of the crew are woken up from their cryogenic sleep to deal with an emergency.
They are sidetracked from their mission by a nearby planet that tempts them to investigate.
And it will come as no surprise that this decision isn’t a good one.
Without giving too much away, this is actually a decent follow-on from the Prometheus story and does explain an enormous amount about the Aliens.
However, substitute Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley for English actress Katherine Waterston’s Daniels, plus a few more familiar aspects, and you’re left with a feeling you’ve seen some of this before.
Plus, we know the creature bursts from people’s stomach and how they kill their victims.
So no matter how much blood flies, the shocks aren’t as dramatic as they once were.
But it’s still a good action thriller that does manage to recapture some of that initial horror.
Film details: Alien: Covenant (15) 125mins
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol