An older adult named Cliff Buxton (Sam Neil) visits a large satellite dish in an Australian sheep paddock. The film soon goes back in time to the year 1969, when Cliff (Sam Neil) was in charge of maintaining and running the satellite dish. Together with a small team to assist him, they worked with NASA. This team of four were responsible for the communication of audio from Apollo 11’s spaceship. Still, it was also up to Cliff’s team to receive and provide the video footage of Apollo 11’s first walk on the moon.
For those who are not aware, The Dish is based on a true story. As film’s intro, The Dish is also the largest satellite in the Southern Hemisphere, located right in the middle of a sheep paddock.
The Dish is a feel-good Australian film. The film, to its credit, includes a wide variety of fun and quirky characters. Some of these characters are the ones assigned to controlling the Dish along with Cliff. Some side characters may come across as slightly silly or annoying, but I’m happy to say that the majority of them are fun to see on screen. Even minor side characters such as the Town’s Mayor also bring joy, wit and humour.
The Dish as a film moves along nicely. It’s never boring or dull, and this film keeps going along at a snappy pace. The plot manages to keep everything exciting as Cliff and his team encounter issues that could stop them from succeeding in broadcasting the 1st man to walk on the moon. Upon rewatching the film, I got reminded how curious I was as an audience member as I watched these characters try and figure out solutions to problems they encountered. The film also does a great job wrapping up the ending and the film credits. It will overall leave you feeling content and simply wanting to see more.
Far as soundtracks go, The Dish manages to play many classic tracks to bring 1969 alive. I recently had the honour of picking up the new restored version of the film which is now on Bluray at local retailers. I am slightly disappointed to say that the most significant improvement for both picture and audio tracks are discovered in the film’s last act. Before that, the music just isn’t as vibrant as I remembered and some shots, especially in regards to colours, appear to be washed out. In contrary, other scenes look amazing, as the colours all of a sudden come to life. It’s almost like when it came to transferring the film to Bluray; the creators only chose to fix some scenes and left the rest as they were.
Overall, The Dish is easily one of my top 10 favourite Australian films. There is a great story to be told, and the actors have made it easy to fall in love with its characters (well, except for a couple maybe, lol). I feel it’s a shame the Bluray transfer wasn’t consistent as some scenes don’t look and sound solid until the film’s third act. Either way, it’s rather enjoyable!
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Review Written by Peter Walkden