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THE DISH ($20) is a sweetly comic film that takes a lighthearted approach in its depiction of a little known aspect of a very well known historic event. Man's first landing on the moon is shown from the perspective of a group of faraway participants in this monumental achievement. Set in Australia, THE DISH tells the story of the team manning a radio telescope in the middle of a sheep paddock in the land down under. As it turns out, the radio telescope is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and is chosen by NASA to carry the broadcast of man's first walk on the moon to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, in the middle of the space flight, the radio telescope breaks down, leaving the Australian team scrambling to come up with a solution to the problem before the people at NASA become aware of the situation. Heading up the delightful cast of THE DISH is Sam Neal, who portrays the laid back scientist in charge of the Australian team. Patrick Warburton turns in a fun performance as a somewhat stiff and by the book of NASA engineer that find himself in the middle of a potentially disastrous situation, one which could prevent the people of Earth from witnessing the first moon walk. The cast of THE DISH also includes Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Genevieve Mooy, Tayler Kane, Bille Brown and Roy Billing.

Warner Home Video has made THE DISH available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Warner has provided THE DISH with a very nice transfer. In general, the image on the DVD is sharp and well defined, especially during daylight scenes. However, darker sequences and dimly lit interiors tend to be a bit softer and less detailed. Colors are nicely saturated, plus the flesh tones are reproduced quite naturally. Neither chrome noise, nor smearing caused any concern in the rendering of the most intense hues. Blacks are accurately rendered and the level of shadow detail is quite respectable. The film element used to transfer does displays some blemishes, however, none of them are particularly distracting. This cleanly authored DVD doesn't exhibit any overt signs of digital compression artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is pleasant sounding, but won't tax anyone's home theater set up. Owing to the fact that THE DISH is a dialogue driven film, there are few opportunities for overt sound effect placement. However, there is one key sequence in the film where the effects are rather well deployed. Surround usage is kind of limited during the course of the film, except for that one sequence. For the most part, the track has a clean open quality that gives the film's dialogue and music an effortless quality. Voices are well recorded and the film's dialogue is always completely understandable. The bass channel is given relatively little to do, except for a reinforcing some of the film’s sound effects. There are no other language tracks on the DVD, however subtitles are provided in English French and Spanish. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide one with access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer and cast filmographies.

THE DISH is a highly enjoyable little film, which many folks may have overlooked or didn't have the chance to see during its limited theatrical run. Warner’s disc release looks and sounds quite good, so if you missed the film in the theater, you will definitely want to check THE DISH on DVD.


The Dish


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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