Written by / 9/04/2012 / No comments / , , , ,

THE DISH

year: 2000 cast: Sam Neill, Neil Armstrong (archive footage) rating: ***1/2
“Not everyone at NASA is a college genius,” an imported American tells his crabby Australian counterpart, both working in the Parkes, Australia location where an essential Satellite Dish resides. “The guy I most admire is from a one-horse town in Ohio.” “What’s his name?” “Tomorrow he’s gonna walk on the moon.”

Ah yes, a perfect movie the week after the death of Neil Armstrong, who on July 20th, 1969 took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Well imagine no one saw that step or leap – it almost happened, twice.

Both scenes, one concerning a power outage and then a sixty mile an hour wind, are involving and suspenseful (despite the fact we know the outcome). Yet most of the film has a quirky, independent quality with eclectic characters… from the men working the satellite to their colleagues and family… that makes this an above-average feel-good experience: think THE RIGHT STUFF meets LOCAL HERO.

Sam Neill’s in charge of the giant Dish located in the midst of a rural sheep farm. He works with his two local technicians and one American, all reluctantly banded to make the worldwide TV transmission possible. Actual footage of the Apollo 11 landing blends neatly with the mesmerized characters, who all – even the annoying ones – feel like old friends after awhile.

Okay, so it's history seen through rose-colored glasses, but what a view.
The real dish in Australia, today
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