By Chris Leggett
BBC News website entertainment reporter
Having revived the fantasy epic genre with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, director Peter Jackson reinvigorates the action blockbuster with his audacious remake of King Kong.
The digital effects for Kong took two years to develop
Jackson is a longtime fan of the 1933 original and his reworking is like an action movie enthusiast's dream come true.
It has everything film-goers want when they pay their money to be entertained.
There are some of the greatest action sequences yet committed to film, along with scenes of romance and drama.
Amid all the excitement, Jackson and his team make Kong human enough that the audience will care about his fate as the Empire State Building climb begins.
The plot is fairly faithful to the original, remaining set in the 1930s.
A reckless director (Jack Black) takes a film crew including a plucky leading lady (Naomi Watts) and an intellectual playwright (Adrien Brody) to a remote Pacific island.
They find the island is home to giant ape King Kong, killer dinosaurs and some of the creepiest insects seen since, well, the last Lord of the Rings film.
Kong takes the actress hostage and finds she stirs new emotions within him.
Jack Black plays impresario and director Carl Denham
Against the odds, the ape is captured and taken back to New York, where he escapes and runs amok.
It takes the first of the film's three hours for the adventurers to reach the island, with Jackson using the time to develop his characters.
From then on, it delivers all the thrills anyone could want from a Hollywood film.
There is a slight break as the characters return to civilisation before more amazing special effects.
But the emotional finale lingers in the memory as long as the battle between Kong and the dinosaurs.
On the downside,King Kong goes on for far too long and at times seems too wrapped up with in-jokes, particularly about the movie industry.
The love triangle between Kong, Watts and Brody is also flat, not all the special effects are top drawer and some lesser characters like Jamie Bell's young sailor only irritate.
But these are quibbles compared to the enjoyment of watching a director at the height of his powers telling a story he loves in such style.