MPAA Ratings

I decided to use a Christmas giftcard to purchase the final two installments in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Previously, I only had Fellowship of the Ring).  They arrived today, and I when looking over the packaging, I noticed the notes associated with their ratings.  A few years ago the MPAA started including a blurb of text along with the rating to describe the reasons they came to their decision.

Both films are rated PG-13, and most people would probably agree that the films are cut from very similar cloth, but I noticed subtle differences in the notes between the two films:

  • The Two Towers: “Epic Battle Sequences and Some Scary Images”
  • Return of the King: “Intense Epic Battle Sequences and Frightening Images”

This led me to wonder where “scary” ends and “frightening” begins. Are they measuring the same value? If so, which term represents a larger value?

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