During my Senior year in high school, I was assigned to a Film as Literature course which is basically a class that spends the whole semester watching culturally-significant films and for homework we'd have to write our perspective on what we interpreted from watching the film. A few of the films shown in class I had already seen before but it wasn't after I truly paid attention to them that I started to see them in a different light. On one occasion, our instructor gave us the option to select a film from a list he constructed to watch at home and write about it; themes, moral, underlying messages, the use of scenery, character development, etc. Surprisingly, on that particular list was the 1979 classic Alien. I had never seen the first film before nor had I figured that, of all films, this one would be on the list which included Citizen Kane, The Grapes of Wrath, Schindler's List, just to name a few. Long story short, I went to Hollywood Video to rent a copy and later that night after watching it, I realized that it was more than just a horror movie with aliens. Apparently, Sir Ridley Scott thought so too after making the convoluted prequel Prometheus in an attempt to expand the Aliens mythos, and while it can be argued that film divided fans more than it won over, it's still an intriguing universe with a story that I'm dying to see come to complete fruition. Alien: Covenant picks up 10 years after the events of Prometheus as we see colony ship called the Covenant journeying across the galaxy to start a new life on a habitable planet. An accident causes the ship to wake the crew from stasis sleep at which point they come across a radio transmission coming from a nearby, uncharted planet. The crew travels to the planet to investigate the origin of the signal where much to their surprise, the planet is not only void of life but suitable for colonization; a paradise holding a deadly secret lying in wait for them. If Prometheus laid out the framework of expanding the universe within the franchise, then Alien: Covenant can be considered the sophomore attempt that answers the many, many head-scratching questions from the previous film. More importantly though, this film makes a return to the franchise's gory horror roots that we've dearly missed. It may not have the same spark as the original films but if I'm being totally honest, after the last film and those God-awful Alien vs. Predator films before it, Covenant comes pretty damn close when compared to them. The film isn't perfect, it opens up new questions which I'm sure will be answered in a future sequel and the film can get a bit philosophical for its' own good but Alien: Covenant is a flawed but brilliant return to form for the franchise, one I hope will continue moving forward into an optimistic future for the series.