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  1. So I was really pleasantly surprised by episode 2, and kept watching a bit to find that feeling again. And... it didn't happen. I wouldn't be too hard on the show, I feel that it does its best to live up to the original. But all too often, the scenes have made me think of the theater play in the final season. The pacing isn't always great, but honestly, I'd say the main problem is that the acting is bad. The actors try so hard to stick to a cartoonish style that they never seem to be genuinely having fun (even in "goofy" scenes), they don't take ownership of the characters, and few moments land. Everyone seems super intense all the time. The second episode stood out because the actresses playing Suki and her mother were better than the rest of the cast imho, but also because they spoke and behaved rather normally. By contrast, the rest of the scenes often feel like a school play trying to imitate the original cartoon instead of a professional show. The actors try too damn hard to emote all the time instead of just trying to be natural. Maybe Ian Ousley as Sokka is the closest to someone actually behaving like a normal person - which is really ironic, given that one of the main reasons ATLA was so good was precisely because the characters all felt like real kids rather than fictional characters. I find it hard to pinpoint what doesn't work, whether the lines just don't do it for live action or whether it's the delivery that's the problem, or perhaps there's a lack of lighter scenes, but I'd say that, if anything, perhaps this adaptation takes the original too seriously - more seriously than it took itself - and it ends up going against the very spirit of the original. It would be easy to blame it on the child actors, but in truth Tamlyn Tomita as Yukari and Ken Leung as Zhao are the only adults that seemed to truly "embody" their characters - Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh has his moments, but it's not quite there yet. One good thing about the first episodes was also that they had some nice wider shots that gave a bit of life to the world instead of always focusing on the characters. It added a bit of wonder - though a memorable music piece would have helped. I'm not sure whether I should go on, because I'm getting a bit too old for hate-watching ; perhaps I'll finish this season and ignore the next one.
  2. It seemed fairly obvious to me that attacking "Big pharma" meant attacking a specific economic structure/model, rather than the pharmaceutical products themselves. Surely you can't blame me for assuming that anyone with a functioning brain would want to keep the drugs. Thanks for clarifying though. To be clear: I've never met, heard, or read anyone who would treat modern medicine as part of the problem (1). I suppose Ivan Illich comes dangerously close to that, but that's precisely an aspect of his writings that I disagree with. (1) Ok, I did meet once this influencer who married my uncle-in-law who thinks everything can be cured with essential oils, but everyone in the family treats her as the lunatic that she is.
  3. I watched the first 20 or 30 minutes of this (up to Zuko's appearance) and found it mediocre. It was a good idea to show stuff that wasn't shown in the original cartoon, but all in all it was poorly done, mostly because the acting is poor. And no, I'm not just thinking about the kids, Gyatso really didn't work for me. One detail that struck me: I remember thinking it was good to have the monks' robes be worn out. And then, when we switch to the South Pole, Katara and Sokka's outfits when not only too clean, but visibly artificial in nature (i.e. it was obvious they weren't made of animal fur). This kind of details gets me out of a show at warp speed. I'll try finishing episoed 1 tonight, but so far I'm not impressed. And yeah, on a different note, Maisie Williams totally rocked in GoT.
  4. Thank you. It boggles my mind that whenever you point out that a given system or structure really isn't working well, there will always be people rushing to defend it because they are afraid what little good that is arguably being produced by the system or structure will disappear. If you think about it for a bit, it isn't rational. We know this for a fact, because Big pharma is not that old, far from universal, and has to be heavily regulated to arguably do any good. To defend Big pharma (of all systems or structures) is an astonishing failure of knowledge or imagination. You seem to be assuming you need maximal profits to keep the output. This is quite simply not true. In most countries, the price of drugs is heavily regulated (and kept low) without the output being affected. A different way to put it, is that the limitless greed of Big pharma, with all its adverse effects (hello, opioid crisis), is a recent phenomenon. The world was doing fine without Big pharma, and the world would be better off without it. I know where you're coming from, but Big pharma is so evil that one doesn't even need to argue against private ownership and markets to improve it. Heavy regulation and a minimum of price controls already prevents the worst sides of it. And again, we know this for a fact. Developed countries that heavily regulate the health and pharamaceutical sectors do great. Those that don't end up being shitshows. Of all the topics to have an exchange about "left vs liberalism," health is the one where "leftism" (socialistic or socialist programs) has consistently delivered, and -economic- liberalism (unregulated profit-seeking) has consistently failed. This is a good summary, and a nice discussion starter, if this is to be a discussion (but outside the international events thread next time ). But yeah, I think it's time people understood that more isn't always good.
  5. You're confusing medical research with Big pharma. To thank Big pharma for vaccines is like thanking the GAFAM for the internet: completely deluded. I hate to have to break it to you, but climate change means "pragmatic liberal" is now an oxymoron.
  6. Have to say I was terribly wrong about Frieren, because the anime really magnifies the manga. The soundtrack turns even chapters that are rather unremarkable (for manga) into badass moments.
  7. Watched the British show Bodies. I'd say it was surprisingly good. Don't know anything about the graphic novel it is based on, but the story felt relatively original and interesting for a time-travel story. There's some plotholes, but they felt minor enough to overlook imho, the ending was satisfying (and rather original I'd say), the characters were well fleshed-out and credible... etc. A very decent little show for anyone who wants a mix of crime and science-fiction. I'll give extra credit to the story for its symbolism. The moment you start seeing the message you can't help smiling. Though I kinda assume that the original work had an even more subversive message, the show feels like some elements must have been watered down a little. About the plot:
  8. Yes, absolutely. As I said, "we're here also because everyone wanted to develop their own militaro-industrial complex," and that includes France. The one good point of the French position was that, because France couldn't quite finance all those expensive R&D programs on its own, it was always looking for partners for weapons development programs. I'm not an expert, but I know partnerships were developed with Germany and Spain at least - possibly Italy I believe. The point isn't to say that the French position was exemplary. Its main goal was always to keep its own militaro-industrial complex and sell its own weapons to make big bucks. That, btw, I have little consideration for. Nonetheless, proposing to develop common R&D programs had its own merits. And even assuming France still kept the lead on most of these programs, the knowledge and production would still have had to be split between several countries. Imho, other countries could have indulged France a bit and progressively obtained both valuable technology and weapons production centers. After a bit of time, i.e. once factories had been built and production lines established, it would have been relatively easy to tell France to fuck off it it became too annoying. But I think this required too many efforts. Significant initial investments. Indulging France for a bit - and I'm aware how annoying the French can be. Getting those factories up and running. Etc. In other words, all of this was a long-term strategy that would only bear fruit after decades, with a lot of negotiation and bickering in-between. And all this with the US not liking it much, and potentially making significant efforts to sabotage this kind of strategy, using its own technical superiority and surveillance programs to break up partnerships. By contrast, buying stuff from the US was always a solid short-term choice that could provide immediate benefits, including American goodwill and support - especially through NATO. But, and there's my big but. Why did European cooperation not take off with renewed vigor after Trump threatened to blow up NATO (the first time)? European countries should have immediately realized that they could no longer afford to wait for the US to drop the ball to develop their own weapons and production lines. I guess these things take time, but it's like we still waited the last possible moment (i.e. the invasion of Ukraine) to be concerned with weapons production... In a nutshell: a lot of people must have fucked up pretty badly. Or maybe I'm underestimating some oppositions, including US hostility. I haven't done my homework on this tbh.
  9. Watched Reality tonight. Very good short movie, with a refreshing concept that achieves emotional impact with very little means. Partner and I were both misty-eyed at the end of it.
  10. France has had 5 republics/constitutions, and we're not doing any better than other demoracies. The real issue imho is that the combination of representative democracy and capitalism inevitably leads to a slow degradation of the common interest through corruption/lobbying. It's pretty much inevitable, and then you get a mix of populist and reactionary movements. Since this is the US politics thread, I'll posit that the anti-federalists actually had it right: the public interest is better served through local government/institutions. In fact, the same goes for corporations: any organization that's on scale that allows it to avoid transparency and accountability will sooner or later become a threat to the people.
  11. I've decided to quit smoking in 2024. It's going great: we're only in February, and I've quit at least four times.
  12. Why would a European sovereign defence policy have to start with France extending protection to Eastern Europe, when it is already part of NATO? That's ridiculous. The entire point of the French position was to not wait for the time when the US might drop the ball to develop independent European programs that would take decades to come to fruition. So that ship has sailed, I think. Now, we all pray for Biden to win, and we all pay for the consequences if he doesn't.
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