And guess what? It's a better film.
At least as a stand-alone effort. (I'll happily agree that LotR: RotK is magnificent in lots of ways, but unless you've read the books or seen part one and either seen or been told the necessary four sentences to catch up with part two, it won't make sense to anyone.)
I hadn't looked up the running time before seeing CM, and I was amazed when I checked my watch at the end. It didn't seem like over two and a half hours.
Yay for Jude Law (specialist in situations you wouldn't want to be in *), Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, and Ray Winstone (specialist in nasty characters) in particular, and Anthony Minghella's direction and script. So... a film about events in the US Civil War, where three of the five main people involved are British, and one's Australian.
I must make another attempt at reading the book. Because it's written in 'as spoken' dialect, and I don't usually vocalise when reading, I found it incredibly difficult work and quickly gave up. The Color Purple 2 in that regard...
* I see from imdb that he's going to be Lemony Snicket in the film adaptation of the wonderful Series of Unfortunate Events.