according to the imdb trivia page for it, many of the theaters showing ‘cloverfield‘ put up motion-sickness warnings. said warnings are totally true, but are also the exact same reason you should try to catch this one in the theater: the big size contributes a lot to the hyperkinetic action.
it’s a relatively simple flick: giant monster shows up to destroy new york city. that’s really the whole thing, so yes, this is indeed a direct ‘godzilla’ descendent. the movie is shot from the point of view of a hand-held video camera (a guy had been taping everyone at a friend’s party, and brings the camera with him when the mayhem ensues), which is the source of the love-it-or-hate-it feel to all the reviews on this movie. people running hell-for-leather down the street tend to take jittery, imperfect movies, and the resulting footage is indeed dizzying. but the “omg, it’s all real!!” technique works beautifully: there is no score, no jangling piano/violin screeches when the boogeyman jumps; there are no heroes, only ordinary people confused and terrified. ‘cloverfield’ neatly manages to avoid all the silly horror/disaster movie clichés by just not having them put in any kind of appearance. no (inevitably british-voiced) guy in the lab coat shows up to explain things away, no breathless last-minute rescues appear out of nowhere, no accountants suddenly turn into rambo when handed guns. it’s scary as hell, without being stupid, and that’s quite frankly a neat trick to pull off.