Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is Rated PG - So What?
by Alex Billington
January 8, 2009
I've been asked by some readers to comment on the news that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince received a PG rating from the MPAA for "scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality." I've got three movies to name - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Speed Racer, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Well, see that's the problem. While I would argue that those are the three best PG movies we've seen recently, most would argue that those three were terrible. And we don't want a terrible Harry Potter. For some reason, though, I'm confident that David Yates pulled it off.
First off, I'm going to admit that I might not be the greatest person to comment on this rating for the sole reason that I haven't yet read the books. Therefore I don't exactly know what takes place in Half-Blood Prince and how violent or dark it is. However, I think I can at least say that I'm not that concerned, largely because after five previous movies, I feel as if Warner Brothers has proven to the MPAA that the entire Harry Potter universe is not too dark and that some subject matter is actually PG. But I will admit that this is the first indication that Half-Blood Prince might not be as incredible as we're all hoping it will be.
You may have already discredited me for being one of "those" people who hasn't read the books yet, but I'm still a big fan of the movies and want to see them continue to turn out great. With this news I'm conflicted - while I would want Half-Blood Prince to be PG-13 ideally, the trailers I've seen have looked fantastic. So if the actual footage we've seen is all PG and it all looks great, then I don't think we have anything to be worried about, right? Let's hope that's the case. Unfortunately we have to wait another seven months to find out. And until then, I'll invite those who have actually read the books to debate over this rating.
Reader Feedback - 56 Comments
harry potter 5 was a lot darker and I read the books.... They fucked up 5................ Different writer......... Harry Potter 6..... old write (good!) and hopefully good editing for the summer release PG rating might be changed later in.... you never know.... Parry Potter 6 is dark and if looked at is very creepy. If they (hopefully) did it right, then this will be a good movie regardless of the PG rating
Sean on Jan 8, 2009
May I be the first to reply to Sean and say... What? That made no sense at all. And as far as the ratings go I think the PG rating is a move to try to get younger fans back to the series as it was starting to get too dark and I think Warner Brothers is trying to keep that younger audience it originally had with 1 and 2. Just a thought.
Tyler on Jan 8, 2009
Well there are supposed to be two scenes that clearly and graphically show the painful extraction of blood from characters' bodies. So, they must have edited out the actual shots that show those moments of blood squirting out and might have just edited it so that it cleverly skips to shots of the victims already with blood covering their faces and bodies. Oh well.
George on Jan 8, 2009
Darn, that means still no Hermoine nude scene. 🙁 Uhh, she is 18 now right? If not, please disregard. heh
kevjohn on Jan 8, 2009
Prince Caspian rocked, as much as I'm ashamed to say it. This will be ok at least.
Vegavega Balrog on Jan 8, 2009
#4 Its just a matter of time before Playboy comes a nockin
dac_fan on Jan 8, 2009
The books get darker, they should get darker. It's not like kids haven't read them all and don't know what's coming. The characters are aging and maturing and so should the films.
Fuelbot on Jan 8, 2009
I don't see how this affects it. I'm only surprised because the end of the book/movie is supposed to deal so heavily with death, and that's material that I would think the MPAA would move to the PG-13 category. If they think that kids can handle this stuff, it's either because the movie doesn't touch on it very much (not likely after scenes from movies 4 and 5) or the MPAA thinks that kids are mature enough to handle it. Whatever the case, my views on the movie are unchanged due to this announcement.
DogChasingCars on Jan 8, 2009
The book has a more serious tone, not a darker grittier edge as many fans would like to think, (I am sorry I blame this on the TDK phenomena). It has much maturer storyline than that of book 1 - 4, but if we are to follow the ratings in movies, book 6 is still PG, having read it more than once (I am one of the HP geeks sorry). There is actually only 1 violent scenes but the book was not graphic about it. Even the ending is PG since it has a dramatic tone in it with much of the violence left in the background and only discussed by the character's. So if movie 6 is rated PG there won't be any problems, I think it will still be a good one. I couldn't recall any blood extraction though? #4 & #6 - unfortunately in book 6, Hermione is still 17, so I doubt if a magical Hugh Hefner will go to Hogwartz.
somwerbtwngrinnblu on Jan 8, 2009
i know i might be speaking for myself, but i really liked the first two over P.O.A. and O.O.T.P. [G.Of F. is still my fave] and they were rated pg. when i saw the news about the rating, i immediately became skeptical. i was expecting the first two to be PG, cause the trailers itself weren't dark and sinister, unlike the last 3, which were rated pg-13. now we get this great trailer with little demon tom riddle and they drop a bomshell by making the movie with a freakishly dark teaser PG. it really makes no sense at all. the killer is the "some violence" part, meaning the movie will be scary-looking, just boring at the same time
LeeMan on Jan 8, 2009
seriously.........I'm upset about this, my favorite part of the novel is when Harry dices and slices Malfoy up. I mean it is just beautifully written and I will be very upset if they don't have that scene in the movie. And now...it won't
Movieraider321 on Jan 8, 2009
I finally understand why I rarely agree with what you write, you haven't read the Harry Potter books. It is not like they are Tolstoy or anything. You can pick them up for around 45 bucks for the whole set and you could probably finish them in a week. If you can blog about shitty horror remakes, you can give Harry Potter a good read through.
John on Jan 8, 2009
I've read all the books dozens of times...i'm one of the biggest potter nerds on the planet, and I can say that the trailers make this look like the most accurate adaptation yet. While the fourth and fifth movies deserved a PG-13 for the dark action and violence, the sixth does not if it is accurate: the book has almost no action. There's some disturbing content, yes, but not on the level of the fourth and fifth books. Plus, Prince Caspian somehow got a PG, and that's a definite PG-13 (two hours of kids killing creatures). So I think its possible for the MPAA to be leniant once in a while.
DinoChow on Jan 8, 2009
SUMPAH GWE SKA BGT MA HARRY P. N BUKUNYA DA GWE BACA BERULANG ULANG! SO DON'T MISS IT!
ANGGIE on Jan 8, 2009
I'm kind of over Harry Potter. I just had Giant Fantasy Series Fatigue set in. If Deathly Hallows hadn't been the end of it, I wouldn't have bothered picking it up, just like I dropped Wheel of Time, my last victim of GFSF. I haven't bothered with any of the movies after the first one, so I have no opinion on the potential quality of the film, since I probably won't see it. However, I've found that the MPAA ratings have lost all meaning for me, especially after watching This Film is Not Yet Rated. Seriously, when you learn that Maria Bello's pubic hair got The Cooler an NC-17, but was also shown in the R-rated A History of Violence, and when you compare sex scenes in independent NC-17 movies versus studio R movies, you see just what arbitrary bullshit it all is.
Lady Aerin on Jan 8, 2009
man i haven't read Half-Blood Prince for a long time, I don't even know! but i just wanted to say that Prince Caspian was awesome and Speed Racer was better than what a lot of people were saying it was. And the graphics were so awesome!
Susana on Jan 8, 2009
Also, Prince Caspian had a lot of violence and was still PG. So, I don't know, even though I can't remember too much of the book, maybe Harry Potter's PG rating won't necessarily mean they cut too much out?
Susana on Jan 8, 2009
I'm not really even ashamed to say that Prince Caspian was pretty good. But that movie was PG, and let me say, it was pretty freaking VIOLENT. Dark too, not just violent. Granted most of it is bloodless (there's some blood), but so many people die in that flick. people are shot with arrows a lot, pummeled to death, numerous throats are slashed, there are one or two absolutely tragic massacres, and people are almost assassinated. and that movie is PG. i think HP and the HBP can get away with alot with a PG
Mcgruff on Jan 9, 2009
#18 That is because Disney can create their own rating system. The first Narnia was pretty much an average PG-13 movie. There was no questions about this. The fighting sequences were really violent, that the only thing that would probably keep it from an R is the fact that there was no blood. Anyways back on subject. I do believe that Book 6 could be great with a PG rating, it would probably be better served as PG-13. Books 5, 6, and 7 take a dramatic darker turn with more serious imaging. We'll see though, but I don't have too many worries.
L on Jan 9, 2009
Speed Racer was a bad film because of its filming, not its rating. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was trying to be kid friendly, but in the end, it was a better film than the first one. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian that film's problem was its marketing and its release date. That film was fantastic. It hits my top 20 of 2008. It was unbelievable! I saw it twice. Much better than the first one, better story, better craft, better craft, and much, much more mature. Harry-Potter being PG doesn't define what kind of movie it'll be. That's up to many, many more elements.
Kenneth Van Castle on Jan 9, 2009
Its often said that the 3rd Harry Potter is the best one in the franchise, while I personally disagree, it should be pointed out that it was rated PG.
KyB on Jan 9, 2009
I know after Prince Caspian there were rumblings about why PC got a PG rating in comparison to the HP films, which have started being rated PG-13. I think the ending battle of PC is comparable to the violence in the HP films. When you start having a vocal discussion about this topic almost immediately people start pointing fingers at the MPAA and claiming favoritism (obviously). I don't think that Half Blood Prince will be less violent or less dark than the other movies. I think the MPAA got flack for PC's rating and was softer on HBP to avoid this kind of debate. Just something to consider.
janet on Jan 9, 2009
I agree with DinoChow on this. There's some mildly disturbing content in this film, much of which takes place in a flashback, as well as major character death at the end but overall I found HBP to be much more lighthearted following OotP. I don't feel like a PG rating is going to be that big a deal.
Liz on Jan 9, 2009
They've either pulled some strings to get a PG rating, or they've omitted / sugarcoated at least three things. (three year old spoiler alert) 1. Mutilated reanimated corpses 2. Malfoy being slashed and bloodied 3. Dumbledore's crumpled body
Frank on Jan 9, 2009
okay honestly guys, deaths in films don't have to deal with the rating, remember bambi? she gets shot, G rated. I mean that is gun violence. The reason that this will suck with a pg rating is because of what number 24 said. just because someone dies or creatures die, that doesnt make a film violent. Honestly people, if you saw a dead body in a casket or on the street with a large pool of blood around it, which would be more violent?
Movieraider321 on Jan 9, 2009
25: Is the body in the coffin horribly mutilated and grotesque with a pick axe sticking out of it's eye? And the body in the street in a large pool of blood just a guy who got shot in the femoral artery? Because in that case I'm going with the body in the coffin. You're comparison is lacking in important details my friend.
Icarus on Jan 9, 2009
I can't wait until we finally get to see this postponment of the HP series...I'm pysched to see it! Can't wait. I think the young ones can handle the gore. Well, when you're fighting evil, it just gets darker...Can't wait!!
athena on Jan 9, 2009
The Empire Strikes Back is rated PG. PS-13 movies are generally just PG movies with a couple light curse words, some light nudity or other "Not quite enough sex for an R rating" sort of scenes. There's almost no difference in violence in most PG13 and PG movies, aside from maybe there being more blood. There are horror movies about reanimated dead that are rated PG. Jaws 2 and 3 are both rated PG. It's not really blood and violence that's an issue, it's the tone of it and the brutality of it, and the amount of it. If it's just one or two scenes with some violence (and for the record, if you had a scene where you actually SHOWED Malfoy being sliced open, that would be rated R. You can't show violence like that in a PG-13 movie, either. PG movies and PG-13 movies are allowed the same general level of violence, but a PG13 movie can contain pretty much as much as it wants. a PG moive can only contain a scene or two like that before it gets a PG-13. There are still some limits, but you can make a PG movie with some intense violence, but you have to limit the amount you show. I have no doubt that you'll get to see Malfoy in some state of bloody, and re-animated corpses... there are PG-rated horror movies (and TV shows) that have dealt with nothing but... I still probably won't go see this, cause I've never really gotten into them that much. I'll rent it or something.
Squiggly on Jan 10, 2009
pg and pg 13 is pretty much the same thing, the first set of harry potter flicks were pg and they were good. my favorite was goblet of fire.that was pg13
darrin on Jan 11, 2009
:/ Being that I'm sure no one in the MPAA has even saw this movie or script. I highly doubt this rating will stay the same. I mean, is OotP was PG-13 Then HBP is most likely, the climax is very dark.
Yoshi20000 on Jan 21, 2009
ok, don't why it's rated PG when it's obvious to anyone who have read the book knows that there are violent and bloody parts. like harry doing a curse spell on malfoy that causes his face and body to slash in splits of flesh. that sounds pretty violent to me. or the climax where the fighting takes place. then there's dumblebore and harry in the cave, that was a creepy scene too. i believe the MPAA is doing this to draw in younger audiences. the book itself was very dark and good to read but as a movie, i don't see how it is PG for kids.
lara on Feb 5, 2009
Anyone who has read the Harry Potter series knows that there is absolutely no way that they can be true to the book and still keep a PG rating. There is too much blood and violence and creepy, scary, disturbing things in the book to make it PG, which means that they must have toned it down. I find this completely unacceptable and do believe it is a means to draw the younger 7-12 year old audiences back. The problem is that Harry Potter doesn't stay 11 years old for the entire series, and neither do his classmates. There are romances and dramatic moments and language that shouldn't be toned down because WB wants to make more money. Even more important, Harry experiences some extremely terrifying and graphic moments in the story that would not be depicted correctly if the rating were PG...and I don't mean editing it to so kids can see it....i mean there are events that can't be allowed to happen if the rating is PG.....Harry Potter is not a child anymore....and WB and all the stupid parents who took their kids to the last two Harry Potter movies and were upset by it need to realize that....The rating must be PG-13 at least
Joe on Mar 16, 2009
HBP isn't extremely violent, but I think it still should have a PG-13 rating because of the content. They are discussing very dark and twisted things in this movie, and also the scene in the cave with the Inferi. That it itself should be a scary scene to watch. I'm just a bit afraid they're going to skate over alot of parts just to get the PG rating. But who knows? Hopefully, it's still good.
Eden on May 3, 2009
I would prefer it to be PG-13 maybe even 13A or 15A as they are getting darker... Who knows what IFCO will rate it we will just have to wait and see
Gavin on May 10, 2009
I was just watching a HBP trailer on youtube and it said 'The Following has been rated PG'. I immediately thought it was a fanmade video, but unfortunately it was legit. I could not believe that this movie is rated PG. I could already hear the babies in the audience crying or the 10 year-olds laughing at every part in the movie when it hits theaters. I could only think of 2 reasons why this would be rated PG: 1. To make more money. 2. To keep children interested in the series. Yet, the past 3 movies have been PG-13, so why the sudden change? To me it just doesn't make sense. I know at least as I was reading the book, the images in my head were not PG material, especially at key parts like Sectum Sempra. *The only PG movie I've ever seen that I enjoyed regardless of its rating was National Treasure (1&2) All I got to say is, good luck Warner Bros.
Jonny on May 11, 2009
Ok, I have read the book series up to Goblet of Fire. I have thought the movies were great so far. Personally, I love the darker films in the series.(Voldemort,Death Eaters,etc.) But I was hoping the movies would get darker and darker. By the looks of the trailer, it seems like it would be PG-13. I'm sorry but DAVID YATES AND WARNER BROS, YOU HAVE MADE A MISTAKE!!!! UGH!
Jonathan on May 16, 2009
wow u havent even read the books and u comment on how the movie is gunna be bad. wow... lol
no one on May 17, 2009
Well, I think the PG rating is throwing off the series. It's supposed to be really dark and whatever, and PG?! If WB wants to make more money off of this, I think they should still make it PG-13, because if people hear its really bad, they won't go to see it, or just the fact that PG will draw in a bunch of little kids might discourage people anyway. Right now, I'm not even sure that I'll go and see it, even though I've read the books and seen every other movie. It's just--PG? Ergh... doesn't anyone else think that's a mistake?
Zorgan on May 26, 2009
Exactly, you haven't read the books so you don't know the subject matter and how dark it is. Therefore, you are in stance to comment/write an article on the rating of this movie. If you had read them, you'd know it's more than just "so what?".
Neil on May 28, 2009
When i first started hearing the rating system of the movies, i was like, 1-3 are rated PG, 4-5 = PG-13, i just assumed 6 would be AT LEAST pg-13. i've read the book a few times, and there's no really way i think they can make it only PG. with the final few scenes involving the Inferi and the death, i mean, the death could be less objectified, but you can't really minimize the Inferi. and what about the Horcruxes? how can you explain someone splitting their soul and pretty much removing internal parts in a PG setting. I just hope they don't cut out important parts, mostly cuz it wouldn't make a very interesting movie (in my opinion); i don't think that's true, however, because Daniel, Rupert, and Emma at least have already signed up for the last two movies (7th is split in 2) and they couldn't mkae those good movies without following the plot. i think the rating will change, and really hope it does
tj on May 29, 2009
We hope this "PG!!!!":( movie will satisfy all of my requirements of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince book and my pg 13 requirements for a "scary enough" movie.
Stekartif on Jun 9, 2009
Okay, listen up! I don't know why everybody thinks the movie won't be dark and scary just because it has a "PG" rating. Believe me, I have seen PG movies that should have DEFINATELY been PG-13! The reason why Harry Potter 6 has a PG rating is because the movie ratings are getting less strict every second we speak! You can say sh*t in a PG movie now! Anyway, I predict this will be the darkest Potter film yet, regardless of the PG rating. I am going to see it, and yes - they will include the ending, I assure you! People can die in PG movies anyway, just not too many. Don't worry, Stekartif - this will meet your requirements for a scary PG-13 movie! Just wait and see!
Rodni on Jun 10, 2009
i want you to have a sex scene but not with emma(hermione granger) email me back a response at email@example.com
braydon on Jun 13, 2009
Well first off like everyone else about the PG rating WTF!? How can you tell the FULL story( compared to the Hollywood watered-down story, they call a movie) without at least a PG-13 rating. I mean during Ron's poisoning thrashing on the floor, Malfoy getting diced up by Sectumsempra, Dumbledore's crumpled body at the bottom of the tower after Snape's job. Besides I think the fact that they added a completely NEW SCENE(NOT IN THE BOOK) is reason enough to suggest that this Potter Film may very well cause Deathly Hallows 1&2 to crash and burn... And yes I am one those Harry Potter Nerds who has read the Books more than Once.( Actually i started DeathlyHallows yesterday to complete the Whole Series for the 12th Time. I have done more than read Harry Potter while attending college. Also read Twilight series 3 times BTP.)
MJ on Jun 16, 2009
first of all, i am going to say that i am possibly one of the biggest harry potter geeks ever, and so i am not just a person who likes the movies complaining about something that(sorry for those who haven't read) they don't really know that much about. i am actually pretty pissed about the rating. i am a huge fan of the series and the books and its obvious that the 6th book is probably one the darkest of the series. I mean if you think about it, imagine how much they will need to censor: harry casting the sectumsempra spell on draco, cmon, he peels his friggin flesh off! also, the whole inferi: they are reanimated dead bodies that want to kill harry and dumbledore. the killing of dumbledore: (sorry for spoilers) but thats not exactly kid friendly. i do have confidence in yates, but i have a bad feeling about this movie. i love the other movies and i get annoyed with teh people who get pissed because it doesn't follow the book page by page. but when the directer is cutting out or censoring some of the most important parts of the book, that's when i get upset. any reader can say that they did indeed kind of butcher the 5th book and not completely do it justice. i'm also pissed because with teh series coming to an end, WB, being greedy ass holes, are milking it as much as possible. they urged teh production to be pg-ed, so they could get in a younger croud, which is fine i guess, but i mean seriously, it's not like people are not going to go cuz its pg-13. its harry potter! *also, wb only split the 7th movie in two to make more money, it's been confirmed in an interview* sorry for ranting on wb: main point: i don't think it's the worst thing in the world, but i'm scared for the quality and fluidity of this movie, it is after all my favorite, and many people's, favorite book.
kate on Jun 17, 2009
as the books mature, so should the movies. you shouldn't make the darkest of the books pg, that's just annoying.
firebolt on Jun 17, 2009
the books didn't stay pg. i wouldn't expect the movies to be pg. then again... stop complaining and wait till the movie actually comes out before you dish out your biased, uninformed, naive opinion. i myself have read the books several times through, and, though i believe the scenes should be put in, maybe it may come together more cleanly without them. who knows... maybe these writers who make a living making movies more cohesive ACTUALLY know what they are doing. be optimistic rather than pessimistic and give it a chance before you start slandering it. and kate, "the" is spelled "the"; not "teh" lawlzoroflcopter bizzatch
cory on Jun 18, 2009
harrypotter6 being ONLY a PG is just wrong. Just wrong!
Meco Moo on Jun 19, 2009
I think it should be rated PG-13. I read the books and to me they seem like there all getting darker and so should the film. As these books mature, so should the films.
Russell on Jun 22, 2009
I've read every HP book and in my opinion as the series progressed it got much darker and scary. In my mind this would definitely scare younger children despite the fact it has a PG rating and it's now meant to be "family oriented." I always imagined this film to be filed with the darkness of the wizard war brewing and knowing that the rating is only a PG is some what disappointing. Maybe Yates is good director, but the other directors have already deviated from most of the books in the first place, and this rating says right here that they did even more. We've been waiting for this movie for quite a long time and this is slightly disappointing.
Kris on Jun 25, 2009
this went the OPPOSITE way I expected. I thought they would finally have to move up to an "R" rating and it would be awesome. instead they moved down to a "PG" rating. I don't know what to think, i guess ill just have to wait and see the movie...
Chris on Jun 26, 2009
In the Netherlands, the age rating has already been changed. The Dutch film rating system differs a little from the English rating system: not only the to be given ages are different, as well as the way of rating. A movie can be rated as "Suitable for all ages", 6 years and older, 9 (which has been introduced recently), 12 and 16. In addition, symbols are given to the film which show the reason for the rating, like violence (a fist), bad language (a screaming person) or sexual content (four feet). The film used to be rated as "9 years and older, because of fearsome content". This week, the Dutch film rating company NICAM changed the rating into "12 years and older, because of violence and fearsome content". This is comparable with PG-13, so it isn't unthinkable that the English rating will be changed as well.
Ruben on Jul 10, 2009
don't not see it because of the rating. lol. go and see for yourselves. and the sectumsempra scene might still be accurate. i saw a little part of the bathroom scene and there are a bunch of spells that have people thrown back, so why make another one? it wouldn't make much sense if there's no blood or some graphics. lets just hope for the best.
Lauren on Jul 12, 2009
I just got through watching the movie, and let me tell you I am very unhappy. I don't understand why they made this movie PG. The book and it's overtone was much darker than that. As the book and its characters matured (as well as its readers) the movie should've matured also. I didn't like how the butchered movie 5 and decided to give movie 6 a go. I say to anyone who wants to see it...wait for it to come out on HBO. I hope, the next two movies have a more appropriate rating. I also hope they stick more to the actual story line.
kirey on Jul 20, 2009
well the movie wasn't as "exciting" as I expected but it was good and should have gotten a pg-13 like the 4th and 5th there were some parts that deserved it like harry using that curse on malfoy there was tons of blood and some other parts I think parents should be warned and the rating company get new rating people lol (btw im the #1 hp fan i know everything adk me and i will answer ur q's)
Thales on Oct 14, 2009
I think it is isane that the 6th was PG! I myself haven't read the books so the movie had me curled up in my seat, covering my eyes, scared to see what came next at some parts! Granted, I am kind of a chicken in scary movies... but i'm 19! I would never bring a child to see it! WB is just trying to bring in more money.. way to cheat the system.
Keeley on Jan 3, 2010
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