Crimes of Grindelwald: Deleted Scenes 2

A week after Crimes of Grindelwald was released last year, Kelly Loomis created a list of the deleted scenes from the movie, scenes that were mentioned by actors, scenes we saw in the trailers, and even events mentioned in the so-called Original Screenplay (which is really a transcript of the film’s final cut). That Deleted Scenes post — Kelly’s list and my commentary — has been the point of reference for all discussion in fandom since late November.

Yesterday the ‘DVD extra’ with fourteen extra minutes of film was released for those who buy it online via streaming (the DVD proper won’t be available until next month). Andrew Sims at Hypable.com has very kindly provided a list of the scenes that are in the extended-version that were not in the first release and transcripts of much of the deleted dialogue: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ deleted scenes: 14 additional minutes revealed. How do the fourteen minutes of the extended version match up with Kelly’s list — and “So what?” Here are my first three thoughts to start this conversation.

(1) Kelly’s List Holds Up: There are some revelations in the released fourteen minutes that are not in the 23 November HogwartsProfessor post but there are more scenes on Kelly’s list that are not shared in the fourteen minutes; this “extended version” is still not the film that was shot from the agreed to screenplay by Rowling, i.e., the shooting script. We do get the ballroom scene, for example, which helps with Leta’s story but we don’t get the Leta-Theseus conversation at Hogwarts or the Newt-Theseus-Pickett bar scene in which Leta’s relationship with the brothers is filled out. There’s a lot more story out there that Yates and Company are holding on to.

(2) Ring De-Composition: Film makers do not get at least two critical points of Rowling’s artistry, namely, literary alchemy and ring composition, her complementary traditional points of structure and style. The deleted scenes we see in the released extended version bring out Yates’ break-up of Rowling’s Crimes ring in bold fashion; the Rowling screenplay begins it seems with ‘Credence Reborn’ which is the opening part of latch that was supposed to close in the otherwise bizarro finish of Credence learning he is a Dumbledore. That scene is also set-up with a conversation between Newt and Dumbledore about Grindelwald’s vision. What would have been a satisfying “reverse echo” and pay-off moment became an out-of-nowhere twist that left audiences saying, “Huh? Really? No way.” The same is true with the Leta Lestrange scenes, especially the Ballroom, in which we see how well known the story of her missing brother and the Prophecy are.

The disaster that was Crimes of Grindelwald was the break between the director’s idea of how a story must be told and the screenwriter’s — and the screenwriter on this project has a much better idea, frankly, as we see in these cuts. If the story had been told as written, there would have been fewer showings per day in the theaters (adding the necessary half hour will do that…) but the much more satisfied customers would have come back for repeated viewings rather than rushing home to complain online about what a confusing mess Crimes was.

(3) So What? I wrote on the first Deleted Scenes post here at HogwartsProfessor that three storylines were essentially eviscerated in the final cut that made the film feel disconnected and arbitrary. Leta Lestrange got the worst treatment and Nagini-Credence and Queenie didn’t fare much better. What could have been a satisfying while still mysterious and challenging installment in the five film series became a disjointed set of pay-offs without set-ups and big reveals without the necessary hints and back story. That evaluation was confirmed by the fourteen minutes released today of the much longer original screenplay, especially with respect to Leta and Credence.

What Kelly’s list did not include was the Newt-Dumbledore scene in which the Headmaster reveals film one was all about Grindelwald’s vision “many years ago:”

Newt: So why did you send me to New York?

Dumbledore: Because I knew Grindelwald would try to catch Credence. He had a vision, you see, many years ago, in which an Obscurial killed the man he fears above all others.

Newt: You.

Dumbledore: I thought you might deprive Grindelwald of his weapon, not by killing Credence but by saving him.

This scene I think was an attempt by Rowling to save the story from one of the cuts made in the first film. The actor who played GrindelGraves said in an interview that the filmed scene in which he played Grindelwald having a vision in a MACUSA office had been cut (see discussion here). And Yaters cut out her second attempt to get the foundational Grindelwald vision in! Forgive me for thinking that there is a lot more conflict and disagreement behind the congenial teamplayers story we’re being given in the media moments; they are effectively gutiing the woman’s story… Without that Grindelwald’s vision of an Obscurial back story, why Credence is the focus of Grindelwald’s efforts makes little sense. “Oh, well!”

Less obvious, none of the new footage includes Queenie Goldstein, the heroine who seems to defect to the bad guy’s side in Crimes of Grindelwald, but she is in three scenes on Kelly’s list: her walking about the French Ministry, her first meeting with Grindelwald, and her and her new master at Durmstrang Castle. Why don’t we get any of the Queenie cut scenes in the newly released footage? My best guess is that this omission is intentional and meant to keep out of sight that Queenie is the real servant of Dumbledore (or of the American Charms professor at Ilvermorny) contra Grindelwald. The lessa said about her, consequently, the more satisfying that reveal will be in the next film or subsequent movies.

Those are my first thoughts; what are yours? Click on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link up by the post headline to join the conversation!

Comments

  1. http://Kelly%20Loomis says

    In the mind of the director, he probably thought the Grindelwald escape scene was the best way to begin the film. It was like a Blockbuster chase scene such as we see at the beginning of a Janes Bond or Mission Impossible movie. I saw the original “first scene” on Instagram. It is a nod to the subtlety and brilliance of Rowling. It definitely ties more together and gives the ring structure you elaborated on.

    It doesn’t just show Credence being reborn from Obscurial, it actually begins with the baby blankets and drowning in the water then moves to Credence in Obscurial form. It shows him coming into his real form in the wrecked Second Salem house. This gives a tie-in to the cut ballroom scene and the eventual story Kama and Leta tell. That way their story isn’t coming out of nowhere.

    Including these scenes with the cut Dumbledore/Newt scene gives us a much better idea of what in the world is going on with everyone being interested in Credence. Not just finding him because of his destructive tendencies.

    I agree that Rowling’s masterful story telling is again getting butchered by the films. I thought it would be better with her writing the screenplay but am sadly disappointed. It’s too bad we can’t her full story in novel form. Or at least, the true original shooting script.

  2. http://Kelly%20Loomis says

    A little aside – I did include the Newt/Dumbledore scene in the original post as it begins with Dumbledore using the deluminator before they speak. 😆

  3. http://Sarah%20P. says

    I just saw the original opening scene (Credence Reborn) and am so bummed they deleted it from the movie. What were they thinking? It ties perfectly to the film’s themes and establishes them in such a subtle way. We have the blanket in the water/drowning from the middle and end of the film, Credence’s rebirth fits with the phoenix rebirth and restoration of his name from the end, and it is also connected to the prophecy (“with wings from the water”).

    Moreover, since Credence is such an important part of the story, it would have made sense to begin the film with him and to actually show his survival instead of only telling us that he is still alive in a way that makes the audience wonder if they have missed a film in between.

    Also, the part that shows Credence in the ruined church would have been a nice parallel to the beginning of the first film where Graves investigates the destruction caused by the Obscurus.

    I don’t understand how anyone can make such a beautiful and perfect scene but then decide not to use it. Really, cutting this scene, Dumbledore and Newt’s talk and the ballroom scene makes no sense to me.

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