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Unit 1 - Task 4


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Title: Unit 1 - Task 4

Task 4 Understanding legal, ethical and
regulatory issues involved
  • By Luca Munro

Impact and effect
  • On a personal note, the X-Men were what got me
    into the whole superhero genre and also films in
    general. For me, what got me into X-Men was the
    Australian actor Tim Pocock, who played a young
    Cyclops (X-Men character) in the film X-Men
    Origins Wolverine, and previously I had taken a
    keen interest in him from a teen TV show he did
    called Dance Academy.
  • So after finding out this fact on Google, and
    hearing many praises of the X-Men franchise from
    my friend Matthew, I decided to look into the
    X-Men franchise and found so many big name actors
    that I recognised such as Patrick Stewart, Ian
    McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy,
    Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry,
    Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Brian Cox, Kevin
    Bacon and Anna Paquin.
  • I looked all these actors and decided to watch
    the series, and I remember seeing The Wolverine
    standalone before and I realised that it was
    X-Men film later when I had found the X-Men page
    on Wikipedia. I fell in love with the message the
    franchise was trying to convey, about how the
    films were not necessarily superhero films where
    they had to go save the world from the creepy
    English guy and live happily ever after, it was
    more of a metaphor of how we as humans treat each
    other and how people who are different react to
  • One example is in X-Men First Class when Charles
    Xavier (McAvoy) and Raven
  • I loved the alternate nature of the X-Men
    franchise, how different it was to many of the
    other superhero films at the time, which I found
    generic and boring. Over time after watching the
    films, I loved how character motivated they were
    and because of the comic book genre, I started
    taking note of other big franchises such as
    Batman (Mainly Batman Beyond and Christopher
    Nolans Dark Knight trilogy), and other DC and
    Marvel properties, this then escalated to a love
    of films that I still enjoy to this day, and it
    all started with the X-Men.

Impact and effect
  • For role models and positive effects, there is
    not that many examples of role models but the
    message of the positive effects is to make
    children think about consequences. I mean yes,
    Mystique is naked, when Beast gets angry he
    becomes violent, and Wolverine stabs people, and
    Xavier abuses drugs, and Magneto is in prison,
    and there is a prison break, and yes Quicksilver
    is a thief, and Mystique is trying to kill
    someone, but most of this is irrelevant.
  • What matters is in this battle for survival, the
    politics and individual struggle would provoke
    thoughts in the audience. For example, when Hugh
    Jackmans son Oscar was with his friends and Hugh
    for his 14th birthday and whilst eating after
    watching the film, they got talking about human
    rights and how people would be treated.
  • As for Jackmans character Wolverine, the famous
    words used for his character is He is a good
    guy, but not a nice guy. His mysterious nature
    has made him the fan favourite, having been the
    lead for pretty much all but one of the X-Men
    films (Where he still made the best cameo ever).
    As for a role model, hes probably not a good one
    considering he is stabbing people with his claws,
    but kids seem to like him for the reason that he
    is Cool.
  • Kids will be able to relate to mutants as
    outcasts so if they ever feel left out, they can
    see that in the characters from the X-Men world.
  • As for negatives, the violence even though
    audiences know it to be Sci-Fi so they dont
    really react so terribly about violence as in
    real-world situations, such as American Sniper
    and Kingsman The Secret Service. Though both of
    which are also R-Rated films in America when
    X-Men aim for PG-13 in America for all of their
    films, it being a kids franchise despite its
    heavy themes, the lack of blood contributes to
    the film rating being suitable for young
    children. There is really nothing about X-Men
    being seen as a scapegoat towards children and
    teenagers being violent, unlike Grand Theft Auto
    and Call Of Duty.

Issues of representation
  • Hugh Jackmans Wolverine is seen as very
    stereotypically male, with his extremely muscular
    figure and short temper. Most of the characters
    fit somewhat of a stereotype, with James McAvoys
    Charles Xavier being young, smooth and foolish,
    Patrick Stewarts as this mentor figure who has
    the answers to everything as is all wise.
  • Nicholas Hoults Beast is very nerdy and timid,
    perhaps referring to those who are held back and
    when they get angry they can be very surprising.
    Jennifer Lawrences portrayal of Mystique is very
    relatable for women and, in fact, anyone who is
    insecure about their body, as she is at first in
    X-Men First Class very insecure and Michael
    Fassbenders Magneto teaches her not to hide when
    she thinks Charles thinks she isnt pretty in her
    blue form when he was trying to protect her from
    people who would hurt her.
  • In X-Men Days Of Future Past, she challenges
    women stereotypes of being a damsel in distress
    by having set out to kill Bolivar Trask, and
    originally succeeding in the timeline beforehand.
    Also with the character of Kitty (Ellen Page),
    she is one of the most relevant characters as she
    is the one who is able to send Wolverine back,
    challenging female Sitting on the side
    stereotypes, and actually having some real
    relevance to the plot.
  • Really we dont see any women Damsel In
    Distress and powerless stereotypes, we see some
    weak portrayals of particular females such as
    Rogue in the original X-Men trilogy, played by
    Anna Paquin. However, that was mostly because of
    the fact Rogue was a young runaway who cannot
    physically make skin contact with another person
    without hurting them. So in that sense, it as far
    as Im concerned, is a very real take on such a

Issues of representation (Continued)
  • Other individual groups represented in the film
    are people confined to the use of a wheelchair
    such as Charles Xavier, whose ability to walk is
    mostly interchanged between being able to walk
    and being confined to his wheelchair. There are
    people who have mental health issues represented
    in Charles, when he hears the voices and it
    makes him struggle to cope, and that to have the
    strength to pull through is difficult.
  • Mostly all the characters do serve as a metaphor
    to how individual groups and minorities are
    represented. A literal example is that of a minor
    character from X-Men First Class named Armando
    Muñoz or Darwin, a black taxi driver whose
    mutant power is to adapt his body in order to
    survive. He demonstrates various aspects of this
    ability, including growing gills when submerged
    in water or growing thick body armour when
  • Perhaps this was too literal in the fact that he
    is a black man in the 1960s, when racism was
    still the norm.
  • In X-Men Days Of Future Past we dont have many
    ethnic relevant characters in the past sequence
    of the film, though in the future two of the
    characters are Asian, they being Blink (Fan
    Bingbing) and Warpath (Booboo Stewart). The fact
    that none of the characters are of any
    significant minority mean they are keeping with
    the times, in a sense that the 1970s were still
    very minority ignorant, in which mutants reflect
    on that in the X-Men universe.

Relevant legal and ethical issues
  • An example of an ethical issue is that of John
    Stape and Rosie Webster on Coronation Street when
    Rosie was Johns student and she began an affair
    with him, so issues that are not illegal but
    morally incorrect are ethical issues.
  • Legal issues are rather self-explanatory, they
    are issues touched upon in media that are
    illegal, such as anything from trafficking drugs
    to violence, and stealing to rape.
  • In X-Men Days Of Future Past, an ethical issue
    is Bolivar Trasks experimentation on mutants
    corpses to further his research and development,
    in which we know he has taken the corpses of
    Angel Salvadore, Azazel, Emma Frost and Banshee
    among many more mutants and experimented with
    their DNA so he is able to find out more to be
    able to wipe out more mutants.
  • Ethical issues for the film would involve the use
    of weapons and violence, which all are why X-Men
    Days Of Future Past earns the BBFC rating of a
  • An example of legal issues may not be so
    significant in the film but distribution has a
    very significant issue. Marvel Studios and The
    Avengers director Joss Whedon announced they were
    going to have the character of Quicksilver (An
    X-Men and Avengers character in the comics) in
    their Avengers sequel Avengers Age Of Ultron and
    then Bryan Singer announced the character of
    Quicksilver was going to be in X-Men Days Of
    Future Past, which caused a lot of stir between
    Fox and Marvel.
  • The Marvel products owned by other studios
    include Spiderman which is owned and distributed
    by Sony (Though now, Marvel co-own the character
    and they are allowed to bring him into the Marvel
    Studios continuity), and X-Men and the Fantastic
    Four which are both owned by Fox. The franchise
    characters that Fox and Marvel Studios own cannot
    cross continuity and can not be portrayed by the
    same actors, in-case this causes confusion for
    the audience.
  • They resolved it with the X-Men version of
    Quicksilver being able to be referred to as a
    mutant and Magnetos son, but not able to mention
    the characters past in Europe, whereas the
    Avengers version being the reverse to that. Also,
    Foxs Quicksilver was primarily in the 1970s
    period and was to be played by American Horror
    Story actor Evan Peters, whereas the Marvel
    Studios version was set in the modern day and
    would be portrayed by Kick-Ass himself Aaron
    Taylor-Johnson (Funnily enough, Taylor-Johnsons
    character is best friends with a character played
    by Evan Peters in Kick-Ass).

The role of relevant regulatory bodies
  • In the very violent world of comic book movies
    that are coming to be more and more grounded in
    reality, gritty and dark, there still needs to be
    that security of being able to be shown to kids
    so there is to be no blood or any swearing,
    unless the film goes from an American PG-13 to an
    R-Rated film.
  • The disadvantages of that is if a film gets such
    a rating the marketing is vastly limited as many
    films very rarely can be shown all over un-cut to
    fit the original plot of the story, and the box
    office numbers would decrease very rapidly as
    R-Rated films from what I understand are not
    allowed to be shown in China, which is a big
    market place for box office cash.
  • Being a film marketed towards children, a PG-13
    would allow for more kids who want to see a
    blockbuster franchise in a genre they have come
    to love. Whereas R-Rated films would
    traditionally be aimed more for people at the age
    of 15 or above, and parents would need to watch
    an R-Rated film in order to decide whether their
    kid could handle it, which is a risk for studios.
  • In order to preserve its independence, the BBFC's
    income is derived solely from the fees it charges
    for its services, calculated by measuring the
    running time of films, DVDs/videos and other
    works submitted for classification. The BBFC is
    not organised for profit, and its fees are
    adjusted only as required to cover its costs. 
  • The BBFC's financial affairs are administered by
    the Council of Management. Members of the Council
    are drawn from the manufacturing and servicing
    sections of the film industry, as well as from
    banking, corporate accountancy, TV broadcasting
    and production and the charity sector.
  • As a highly expert and experienced regulator, the
    BBFCs mission is to, protect  the public, and
    especially children, from content which might
    raise harm risks. Also to empower the public,
    especially parents, to make informed viewing
    choices and recognise and respect adult freedom
    of choice within the law. They respond to and
    reflect changing social attitudes towards media
    content through proactive public consultation and
    research, provide a cost-effective, efficient
    classification service within our statutory
    remit, work in partnership with the industry to
    develop innovative service models to provide
    content advice which support emerging media
    delivery systems and provide an effective service
    to enforcement agencies.

BBFC Case Study
  • The BBFC takes part in film Case Studies, that
    tell you why the BBFC did what they did and offer
    background information that you wont find
    anywhere else. Find out why some films and BBFC
    decisions were discussed in the news media, what
    works were complained about, and which ratings
    were praised. You can also browse their From The
    Archive studies which showcase fascinating
    historical artefacts from our archives and listen
    to their hugely popular Podcasts.
  • Some like A Clockwork Orange are works you will
    definitely have heard of, others like Freaks are
    lesser known but important films, and some are
    films like Juno and Fight Club that you might
    have seen but had no idea they caused a stir when
    submitted to the BBFC. They provide Case Studies
    for all films that they introduce as part of the
    BBFCs longstanding relationship with Film
    Educations National Schools Film Week.  Though
    they no longer rate video games there are some
    video game case studies which should offer an
    historical view of how we treated some well-known
    video games.
  • The BBFC regularly update the Case Studies, and
    add new titles several times a year. We welcome
    suggestions for new Case Studies, but, as each
    one takes a while to research and write, we
    prioritise requests. You can email them to
    suggest a Case Study.
  • If you are researching a specific title and would
    like access to the BBFC's paper file archive this
    may be possible depending on the age of the work.
    You can request access to the companys archive
    in Education resources.
  • An example of a Case Study is the Rockstar game
    Bully, which caused a lot of stir when it was
    released due to its initial concept due to the
    name. It came out when anti-social behaviour had
    become a hot topic, and was ultimately a 15 Uncut
  • The game was classified by a team of two
    examiners, although given its nature it was seen
    by several other members of staff at the Board,
    including the Director. It was immediately
    apparent that the content was nowhere near as
    strong as in the GTA series or Manhunt (all
    passed at 18) and that the concerns that had been
    aired in the press were misplaced. Whilst it was
    fair to say that the game's values were somewhat
    confused, and while it was possible to partake in
    anti-social, destructive behaviour, it was not a
    celebration of bullying at all indeed, Jimmy
    fights against the bullies.
  • But it wasn't completely straightforward whilst
    Jimmy does stick up for some of the persecuted
    kids in the school, he also uses violence to deal
    with his problems. Just like GTA, the frequency
    of the violence is dependant on how the player
    chooses to play the game. If they want to be
    violent, the opportunity is there to do that.
  • Concern was expressed about the use of certain of
    the weapons, notably a firework gun, firecrackers
    and cans of spray paint. After consideration, it
    was felt that neither the idea of throwing
    fireworks at somebody, nor the idea of spraying a
    person in the face with an aerosol, were
    particularly novel or likely to be unknown to
    persons of 15-17 years of age. Throwing
    firecrackers is hardly an original idea (people
    far below 15 often hear about this - and worse -
    on the news) and the Board was not convinced that
    this would be damaging to 15-17 year old gamers.
  • The BBFC acknowledged the concern about such
    portrayals of violence engendering anti-social
    attitudes, particularly towards children and
    their teachers, and its obligations under the
    harm test imposed by the Video Recordings Act
    whereby it must pay special regard to the effects
    of works that may cause harm to society through
    the behaviour of those who are exposed to them.
  • The BBFC did not feel that the depictions of
    violence in this game would have a significant
    effect on attitudes in the real world. After
    debate, it was felt that the game would look out
    of place with some of the violent and bloody
    titles that had recently been passed at 18, and
    so it was passed at 15.
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