This third telling of the beauty and the beast tale (the original came out in 1933, followed by the less successful 1976 remake with Jessica Lange in the Fay Wray part) is pure Peter Jackson (the filmmaker who delivered the "Lord of the Rings" films).
It's obviously a labor of love on his part, and contains some stirring and even amazing scenes, fabulous special effects (at times) and the best personification of Kong yet (Andy Serkis, who served as the model for the animators to create Gollum in the LOTR movies, does a fabulous job here aping the big ape).
Yet, at the same time, it's way too long (at more than three hours), occasionally feels like a director who's run amok with the material (some of which does nothing for the story beyond delivering thrills and chills - particularly a dinosaur stampede sequence) and doesn't always hit the emotional notes as presumably intended.
There's also a major bit of miscasting (comedian Jack Black in the Carl Denham role) and despite the reported $200 million budget, some of the effects don't look as realistic and/or mesh with the flesh and blood counterparts as well as they should.
In the end, it's an often exhilarating and occasionally funny, roller coaster type action-adventure flick that should please audiences to no end, as long as their rear ends don't fall asleep in what amounts to the running time of two feature-length films.