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4.0 out of 5 stars the Dish, 19 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Dish (OST) (Audio CD)
The cd review begins with a synopsis of the film `the Dish' before concentrating on the music cd.

The film, `the Dish' was initially released in Australia in 2000. It went on general release across the UK, in May 2001. Certificated for children of 12 years and over, it's very much a family orientated film - though it does contain, "one use of `strong' language."

During the 1960's America became embroiled in `a race' with Russia as both countries made attempts to be the first to land a manned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This `race' provides us with a context for the film.

Films from the the National Aeronautics Space Administration's (NASA) archives were used to show the viewer a brief recap of America's previous 'Apollo' space exploits.

Moving quickly on, were then shown the countdown to the launch date of the manned Apollo 11 -19th July 1969, first in days and then hours, finishing with the last 10 second sequence just as lift off is about to be secured. Meanwhile the Australian government many months previous, had been asked by the American government if they would allow their radio telescope situated outside the town of Parkes, in New South Wales, to be used as a back up receiver for the Apollo 11 mission.
NASA also enquired if the possibility arose, and the crew of Apollo 11 were able to land a space craft on to the surface of the moon, would Parkes be in a position to transmit pictures from the landing module Eagle, of an astronaut setting foot on to the surface of the moon should the other main receiver, Goldstone in California, and its relay stations in the northern hemisphere, fail to transmit live pictures of what many regarded as an historic moment for mankind.

During the course of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, people watched as events unfolded on their television screens.

The film focuses on the crew of technicians who operate the radio telescope, known as the `installation', or as it was called, `the Dish'. However, the film is also about the town, Parkes. Not un surprisingly then `the Dish' serves a dual purpose in the film: as a backdrop to the wider theme of space exploration, as well as playing a pivotal role to Parkes development. From the buzz and excitement the impending moon landing generates amongst local town folk; the visit of dignitaries - America's Ambassador to Australia, and not forgetting the Australian Prime Minister, no less, all adds to the enormity of the occasion.

Having seen the DVD and directors commentary a number of times, its easy now to appreciate how the actors efforts, from lead role to supporting cast, produced some fine performances.

To create tension and drama the four script writers honed the story line, adding some fictional episodic scenes, such as the `wind scene' to an otherwise true story. The scriptwriters were able to incorporate comedy elements by interspersing it within the screen play.

The film struck me as warm hearted and in parts, amusingly funny when things unfortunately don't go according to plan. A human love muse, whilst not central to the story line, acts as a talking point amongst the technicians at Parkes. The film manages to capture your imagination and leave you in awe.

When one adds in a significant and in places an evocative musical score, it's possible to interpret the films topicality from many angles, as well as locating its point of reference, a point not forgotten by Jane Kennedy, whose cd notes begin with how the music for the film came together in outline.
In order to create a nostalgic feel for the year 1969, snippets of popular songs such as `Get Together' and the instrumental track, 'Classical Gas' were used on the soundtrack. Other featured tracks were chosen after the first draft of the screen play was written. They are reproduced on the cd in their entirety. Track 1 through to track 8.

Music highlights for me include track 5, `Good Morning Star Shine'; track 7, a dance band number, `A Taste of Honey' played by the Peter Sullivan Band - a piece suitable for dinner party occasions and, guaranteed to have your foot tapping.

Edmund Choi was originally recommended to Kennedy, by Harvey Weinstein of Miramax pictures, to write and orchestrate the film music to `The Castle'.
After seeing the first picture images -`rushes' - of the radio telescope, Kennedy, as music producer for `the Dish', knew then, Choi would be her first choice with whom she could collaborate and have him write and orchestrate on a scale that mirrored the "sheer majesty and size of those images." And what wonderful compositions his scores make, blending these orchestral pieces some with added choir, into the fabric of the film. Track 9 through to track 28.

Kennedy's remit to Choi was to produce music that, "doesn't intrude or overpower, but moves, inspires and enhances a motion picture." Choi ended up with a balance of the two: music that captured people's attention as well as emotion. As Kennedy aptly puts it, Choi had managed to, "emulate the incredible feeling the world felt during those four days of the Apollo 11 mission." Listen to track 16 ,`The World Awaits' played as a sort of fugue; and track 26,`The Day The World Stood Still', featuring the voice of Tina Arena, and you'll get a sense of what Kennedy means.

In short, the choice of songs made by Kennedy, and Choi's own compositional work for the film, could not have been bettered.

On 21July, 1969, Apollo 11, landing module, `Eagle' touched down on the surface of Moon. What happens next, you'll have to watch the film!

This film remains one of my favourite; a great cd of various 1969 pop hits and melodic music.
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Location: London,England

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