Dish, The

2 bone dogPG13
Stars:    Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton, Genevieve Mooy, Tayler Kane
Director:   Rob Sitch
Screenwriters:    Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch

The Dish is a sparkling Australian film about a spectacular American event, the Apollo XI space mission and man’s first steps on the moon, and the great part Australia played in it. It’s filled with delightfully oddball characters and marvelous humor.

In July 1969, NASA made plans to use an enormous radio telescope, located on a remote sheep pasture in the Australian outback town of Parkes, to help broadcast continuous images of the Apollo XI moon mission. At that time, the satellite dish was the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and it really was used to relay pictures of Neil Armstrong’s mesmerizing feat.

Among those operating the dish are head scientist, Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill), a professorial yet carefree humorist who wears a cardigan, smokes a pipe and gives fatherly advice to his fellow dishmates: mathematical engineer Glenn Latham (Tom Long) and smartmouth Ross “Mitch” Mitchell (Kevin Harrington) who resents the fact that NASA has sent hard-nosed rep Al Burnett (Patrick Warburton) to oversee their efforts.

When a glitch causes problems for NASA, the Australian dish becomes the only way to air the first steps on the moon. But will Buxton and his team be ready? They have their own troubles with the delicate and unwieldly instrument. In the end, the Australians come through with smarts, hard work and grace.

Lotta says:  The Dish is a wonderful family film that’s paced about as casually as the down-under folks behave. It all works! PG-13 for brief, strong language.