This is indeed a modern favourite of mine, and while the story is pretty much identical to the original, though significantly stretched out, so here it's the attention to detail, acting and simply beautiful effects employed by Jackson to make his Skull Island a terrifyingly real place.
Naomi Watts shows her skills in a brilliant performance as Ann Darrow, with very little dialogue, it's all in her face and body language and her interaction's with Kong are wonderful. He's amazing as well, a total CGI creation based on Andy Serkis' movements and though they are the most unlikely couple it's impossible not to believe in their connection to each other.
Along the way Jackson does let a couple of things get out of hand - the de-evolved Skull Island's inhabitants are monstrous but by the time the crew escapes from the spider pit, credulity begins to be stretched as to whether anyone would survive such attacks. However the film does pick up once it takes the captured Kong to New York and the finale. And the running time will be overlong for some people. But at home I find it fine and this offers two cuts of the film. The original 2005 theatrical and the extended version with around 17 minutes extra footage restored.
The finale in New York is also astonishing, given it was all done in New Zealand and with mostly CGI backgrounds - the cars, the buildings, everything - and Kong's destructive trail through the city is spectacular, until the battle atop the Empire State Building brings Kong to his fate. The entire film is an amazing piece of work, Lord of the Rings may be Jackson's masterpeice work, but to me, this runs a very close second.
The Blu-ray is also superb. I double dipped and bought this but also own the three disc Special Edition now deleted. The Blu-ray has the advantage that the film is not split across two discs as it was on that set, but it also strips out ALL the extras apart from the commentary on the extended edition and two other features. A picture in picture feature with little behind the scenes clips and concept art featurettes spread around the film as well. Which are fine, but nothing compared to the wealth of features on the old DVD.
To that end, I intend to keep that for the extras, but use the Blu-ray for watching the film since the transfer and picture quality is so superbly made.