The general release of "Alien: Covenant" is about a week away — depending on where you are in the world — and the professional critics have had a chance to weigh in.

What's the deal with "Alien: Covenant"?

When a film-maker returns to the franchise he created after an absence of almost 40 years, it’s hard not to get curious.

When that film-maker is Ridley Scott, the movie master who has directed cinema treasures in every decade since the 70s, across genres, from "The Duellists" through "Selma and Louise", "Gladiator" and "American Gangster", it’s easy for that curiosity to become excitement.

Of course, Scott has also directed his share of stinkers. Many filmgoers put his 2012 film "Prometheus", an "Alien" prequel by another name (and the film that "Alien: Covenant" directly follows), in that category.

In fact, though the "Alien" franchise, over its four direct sequels, had an impressive habit of roping in directors or writers that would go on to become blockbuster kings — such as James Cameron, David Fincher, and Joss Whedon — only the first sequel, Cameron’s "Aliens", was met with similar acclaim as the original film.

"Alien 3" and "Alien: Resurrection"?

Not so much. And when the Alien franchise was merged with the Predator franchise for two "vs." films, things only got worse.

In 2015, Ridely Scott pulled up from a decline in the quality of his own output when he directed the film adaptation of "The Martian". Now we come to ask whether he has also, finally, done right by his original twisted space franchise that we all love

What do the critics say

The common feelings are of "Alien: Covenant" being a spectacle sci-fi and horror movie that plays a little to closely to the mission statement of the original films, and doesn’t invest enough in its characters… but is still easily the best "Alien" movie in 30 years.

Ian Freer’s review for Empire says "Alien: Covenant amps up the thrills but doesn't deliver a memorable crew member...”, but that "When it is intense, Covenant is really intense."

Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw has a pithy jab for the film “That franchise title is, however, looking increasingly wrong. It is a bit familiar.”

But at Cinevue, Martyn Conterio notes: “If Alien: Covenant is little more than fan service (You want xenomorphs?

You got it, buddy!), it at least gets it right."

At the time of writing the film holds 75% fresh rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes — which simply states the percentage of reviews that were positive, according to their own definition of positive. Aggregator Metacritic, that calculates a weighted average of the scores given by reviews, has worked out a rating of 66/100.

While you are waiting for the release of the film, read what Scott thinks about war with real-life extraterrestrials.