Making the Grades
In July of 1969, the space race was about to end while the entire world sat perched on the edge of their seats and in many cases glued to the tube. It took countless steps performed by many others before Neil Armstrong could take that giant leap for mankind, let alone have it televised. In order for the world to see the first moon walk, NASA headed "down under" to the largest satellite receiver station in the southern hemisphere.
Based on a true story, The Dish lays happily situated smack dab in the middle of a sheep paddock near the pastoral town of Parkes, New South Wales. National pride is bursting at the seams as the locals prepare for the arrival of their Prime Minister and the US Ambassador to be part of the historical moment. However, the senior members of the radio physics department (Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, and Tom Long) are a little miffed that NASA has sent a babysitter (Patrick Warburton) to make sure all goes well. The warm, quirky characters soon find out if they are made of the right stuff when wrong coordinates are sent from NASA, a power surge results in an electrical blackout, and 110 km/hr winds wreak havoc with their technical equipment. Throw in a lovable security guard (Taylor Kane), some sandwiches in a picnic basket, a few sheep, and you have a wonderful, sometimes touching, understated Australian comedy.
If swearing sends you out into orbit, then Houston, we may have a problem. Parents of younger children may wish to take note that, like a meteorite shower, this PG-13 rated film is peppered with mild to moderate profanity, terms of Deity, as well as some sexual expletives Aussie style. The only other concern is the movie's portrayal of the characters becoming involved in deception to save their pride.
The Dish offers a refreshingly different perspective on the Apollo 11 mission, and beautifully captures a very special time in our world's history that space buffs (along with the rest of us) are sure to enjoy.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Dish.
In the movie, the wife of Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill) suggested taking risks was easier than living with regrets. How do you feel about her advice?
How do you feel about the characters’ decision to lie? Do you feel there are ever occasions when it’s acceptable to not tell the truth?
Want to know the real story? Read a detailed account of the Parkes Observatory’s support of Apollo 11 at www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/apollo11/introduction.html