Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald extended cut review: Is it better?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was a divisive film for the Wizarding World franchise.

The Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts offered its second entry, The Crimes of Grindelwald in 2018, but it proved the most controversial film of the series yet.

Following the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his friends across the world as they sought to stop the horrific schemes of Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), the film was praised for displaying the imagination of author J.K. Rowling but faced criticism for its sprawling nature and an excessive number of subplots.

In which case, fans have been excited at the prospect of an extended cut of the film that could potentially flesh out the storylines that got short shrift.

So does this new version of the film succeed in stopping the criticism?

Johnny Depp as the villainous Grindelwald
(Image: Daily Mirror)

Yes and no, but mostly yes.

The Crimes of Grindelwald is certainly a sprawling epic of a film in both iterations, but this new version allows us to get more of a handle on interesting new arrivals, namely Nagini and Leta Lestrange.

Nagini was very much a minor role, who merely existed as an extension of compelling character Credence (Ezra Miller) in the theatrical cut, but here we get much more insight into their romantic relationship.

Arguably the most complicated and interesting new arrival in the film is Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), who was wasted in the movie we saw in cinemas, but thankfully here gets to be fully fleshed out before the film’s dramatic finale – including that ball scene we never got to see from the trailers.

Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange
(Image: Youtube)

The new scenes also hint that there could definitely be more from Leta in future instalments, which would certainly be welcome.

Despite J.K. Rowling confirming the sexual nature of the relationship between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald is also one thing, but we don’t see any of that here or any more explicitly confirmation of a romantic relationship aside from insinuation or that glance in the Mirror of Erised.

One person whose behaviour isn’t fleshed out a whole lot more is Queenie Goldstein, who remains a bit shaky in terms of her characterisation.

Queenie’s storyline is problematic

There is some fan-service, however, with an interaction between Dumbledore and a young Minerva McGonagall, but her existence in the prequels still makes no sense.

The issue with all of these extra scenes is that it makes us wonder why they were never there in the final cut, but the issue of an already overly-busy film seems even bigger here.

Perhaps Rowling should have held off on some plots for future instalments or cut down on cast members.

Verdict

(Image: Daily Mirror)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald gets an extended cut and it successfully fleshes out major elements of the film, but does not solve the film’s structural issues.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is out on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and DVD from 18 March.

Note: Extended Cut is not available on the DVD release.

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