By rights, the Alien franchise should be dead by now, all curled up on its back like a big dead spider, flambéed by the flamethrower of critical ire. How many other movie series would be allowed so many misses and still get invited back to the plate for another swing? Throughout its various iterations since the 90s - sequels, prequels, versus match-ups - the Alien franchise has succeeded only in corroding its own legacy. Even 2012's promising Prometheus, directed by franchise progenitor Ridley Scott, fell short of expectations thanks to its entire cast suffering total frontal lobotomies in the third act. Well, the rot stops here. In Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott has directed the best Alien movie of the past 30 years, and although that isn't exactly a glowing compliment, know this: not only does Covenant deliver a payload of short, sharp scares and atmosphere in spades, it course-corrects the franchise as a whole, retroactively making Prometheus feel like a better movie too.
For all the talk of Prometheus "sharing the same DNA" as Alien, Ridley Scott's prequel doesn't bear much family resemblance to its granddaddy. The economy of horror that served his 1979 effort so well is replaced by a big-budget, star-gazing sci-fi that wants you to know it has size on its side. Hugely ambitious and staggering in its grand designs, Prometheus is almost hamstrung by the fact it is an Alien movie at all – the mishmash of grotesque body-horror and chin-stroking existentialism does not always make for the most coherent movie, but it is at least an entertaining one and certainly no black mark on the franchise.
Despite being one of the loudest, dumbest and profoundly ridiculous films released in ever, Battleship has performed remarkably well at the box office. So how did a plotless board game consisting of alpha-numerical grid references get turned into a money-making blockbuster? It's genius, really. Mindblowing, in fact. One word: 'aliens'.
Following a week of pointless teaser trailers for the teaser trailer, 20th Century Fox have finally released the full trailer for Ridley Scott's Prometheus. So, you like teasing, huh? Well, two can play at that game.
In his role as executive producer, Cowboys & Aliens represents Steven Spielberg's fourth alien movie this year, after Super 8, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon and his cameo in Paul (and that's not mentioning his TV series, Falling Skies). Throw in the rest of the year's extra-terrestrial activity (get bent, Battle LA) and it's no surprise the genre is starting to look a little fatigued. More Western than sci-fi, Cowboys & Aliens at least has a hook, but when push comes to shove comes to "we have to destroy the invaders' conveniently accessible power source", it's Just Another Alien Movie like all the rest.
Master of mystery JJ Abrams (*swishes cape, puff of smoke*) kept his cards close to his chest in the run up to release of Super 8. Was it a Cloverfield sequel? Was it somehow connected to Lost? What was the meaning of all of the clues scattered throughout the enigmatic teaser trailer? Could JJ's nose be pushed any further into Steven Spielberg's rectum? But the most important question of all could only really be answered after viewing it: why should we give a damn about yet another alien invasion movie?