“Alien: Covenant” (Fox)
By Catholic News Service
Competently shocking addition to the long-standing sci-fi horror franchise that dates back to 1979’s “Alien.” After a spacecraft on its way to colonize a distant planet is damaged in an incident that also kills several crew members, including the captain (James Franco), the vessel’s new commander (Billy Crudup) decides to divert to a closer world which seems equally suitable for settlement. But the landing party (Katherine Waterston and Carmen Ejogo, among others) soon discovers that welcoming appearances can be deceptive.
As director Ridley Scott, who originated the series, unleashes his trademark eat-’em-up-from-the-inside extraterrestrials, the plot eventually turns on a duel between two androids (both played by Michael Fassbender). Grown viewers with a strong tolerance for gore will note an undeveloped theme regarding the religious motivations of Crudup’s character, as well as the virtual disappearance of some gay material tipped in pre-release publicity.
Intervals of gruesome bloody violence, brief graphic marital lovemaking, a same-sex kiss, about a half-dozen uses each of profanity and milder swearing, pervasive rough and some crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.