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The Dish could have played the plot premise as a documentary or with a dramatic edge, but chooses instead to present the story at a leisurely comedic pace which oozes charm. The excited little community offers a snapshot of a fondly remembered past full of the idealism of the 1960s. Populated by warm-hearted souls, it's easy to forgive the town band welcoming a US Ambassador with the "Hawaii 5-0" theme instead of the National Anthem. The Dish may not have the sense of danger of Apollo 13, or the dazzling FX of something like Armageddon, but it does have rounded, enjoyable characterisation and a truthful, warming atmosphere, making it easily one of the most enjoyable films inspired by the "space race". --Paul Tonks
Although based on a true story, the characters are fictionalised to make the drama more engaging. Sam Neill's character comes out with what must be the quote of the movie .... in relation to televising the first moon walk .... "Imagine stuffing that up!" - I suspect that most people with some experience of life can empathise, which is one of the things that gives the film its power.
A friend who works at a radio astronomical observatory tells me that the atmosphere portrayed in the film is very true to life. Except the sequence of them playing cricket on the surface of the dish which, I am told, would be a very serious offence in reality.
Was there anything that I thought ought to be on the DVD that wasn't? Yes. Although there was the usual stuff - interviews, trailers and adverts (who wants those?) and some very good supporting material such as the newsreel of the Parkes observatory opening and some NASA archive footage - I would have liked to have seen something about the work that the Parkes dush has been used for in its long operational life, and something about the real people who took part in the events portrayed.
Was there anything that I didn't like about the film? Yes, but not to detract form a 5 star rating. At the start and end we see close ups of Sam Neill made up to look like an old man - I know it must be difficult to do, but if it doesn't look better than that then don't use a close up!
Will you only enjoy this fiilm if you are interested in things to do with space? Absolutely not, it is about people.
Good performances from all the cast, great music and some good comedy moments. As a Pom I take my hat off to the Aussie's at Parkes who really took part and those who brought us this film.
The film follows a small number of the main characters as they track, and then LOSE the Apollo spacecraft.
The film is a gentle, yet very funny story mixing comedy with humanity in a series of touching scenes.
No performance is bad in this film. A great story, nice film work and superb acting.
Top Marks !