Christian Alvart is a name worth taking note of, even is his first international feature, entitled Pandorum, is a highly flawed film which turned out to be a box-office flop. Alvart had made a name for himself with the daring Antikörper (Antibodies) in his native Germany, when he was given the chance to direct a film based on a script by Travis Milloy. This script was then merged with an original script by Alvart himself and became Pandorum. The result is every bit as disparate as one may suspect, but that doesn't take anything away from the quality of Alvart's idea, realized in the film's brilliant first and final part; two astronauts awake from hypersleep suffering from amnesia aboard a seemingly desolate sleeper ship, and must try to find out who they are and what went wrong.
Alvart's direction in these segments is full of tension, shrewdness and delightful paranoia, and much of the script is intelligent enough to be considered watertight - at least to the same degree as the ship. Unfortunately, the film's middle part is marred by abundances of conventional action segments which indulge themselves and don't fit into the film's otherwise philosophical and smouldering atmosphere. We're not talking Arnold in a Bergman film, but you get the picture.
Since I've always maintained that a good ending is the be-all and end-all for science fiction stories, I choose not to remember Pandorum for its trite and sterile action masturbation (in which cliches are rehashed to excess), but for Alvart's classy and inspired wrap-up. My theory is that if the young German hadn't been under massive studio pressure, Pandorum may well have become a classic entry in the genre, and sometimes you just have to applaud and enjoy potential.