If you look at the "Star Wars" saga, you'll note the first episodes (I, II, and III) are a little shaky compared to IV, V and VI (the originals).

That's not the case with the "Alien" spread.

"Prometheus" and, now, "Covenant," have depth that help you understand the film we all saw oh so many years ago.

Set before that Sigourney Weaver outing, "Alien Covenant" hints at how mutant embryos made their way to space.

The year is 2104 and a ship called Covenant is headed to a new planet where 2,000 travelers and 1,140 embryos hope to live.

An accident rocks the crew and, quickly, they’re forced to make decisions. Do they continue on course or investigate a closer spot that looks like it has everything they need?

With a wishy-washy acting captain in charge (Billy Crudup), the crew decides to take a peek. Quickly, trouble happens and crew members begin dropping one by one. The ship’s synthetic, Walter (Michael Fassbender), senses trouble and does his own investigating. He gets a key piece of information, linking this episode to “Prometheus,” the first outing (that also starred Fassbender as a less-evolved robot).

There are plenty of striking visuals to draw you in, more than enough action to keep you riveted and those dreadful aliens to make you want to bolt.

Director Ridley Scott ensures every inch of his screen pops. He first paints stark vistas (where Fassbender picks the brain of his creator), then shifts into the detailed landscape of Covenant. When they get to the human-friendly planet, it’s like Paradise Found.

Katherine Waterston plays the ship’s alpha female, a decision maker who’s not exactly sure the stop is a good idea. She gets her Ridley moment eventually but, repeatedly, she has to argue for restraint.

Danny McBride gets a few nice moments as the ship’s pilot and a host of actors you probably won’t recognize have their close encounters of the alien kind, most of them deadly.

Ridley doesn’t use this merely to plant Easter Eggs but to craft a fine film that can stand on its own.

Boasting several big-star cameos, “Covenant” comes down to the work of Waterston and Fassbender. She connects the series’ dots; he provides key intel.

Fassbender, playing two roles in this outing, is amazingly good. Underrated, he provides the understanding Scott wants viewers to have. When he squares off with himself, we see just how talented he is at making two distinct characters with different motives.

“Alien: Covenant” succeeds where “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” and “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” didn’t. This is a prequel that deserves to be.

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