With Alien, in 1979, director Ridley Scott, more or less invented the modern sci-fi horror genre; now he’s warmed it over with this prequel for no apparent reason other than the privilege of stealing back his own fire. Scott’s reclamation, expectedly engorged with pomposity and meticulous production values, also includes a few people or approximations thereof, most notably Noomi Rapace as a researcher investigating humanity’s otherworld origins, and Michael Fassbender as an inscrutable android. Gory freakouts ensue, and Scott manages a technically impressive equilibrium between the sleekly gadgety and the grotesquely suppurating, but so what? Before long, it’s hard to tell between specific familiar franchise bits and general genre clichés, or to want to. Screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof somehow turn a surplus of exposition into a shortage of clarity. There’s a lot of spelling out of what still amounts to muddled nonsense.