I really enjoyed the movie, quite a bit. It was fun, exciting, and actually somewhat scary.
It starts off slow, and in a style that reminds me of Deathproof, spends a fair amount of time doing nothing but getting you acquainted with the characters. Is this some new movie-writing fad? Usually movies let you get to know and love the characters during the action, but in this movie and others, they make sure you know the characters well before advancing the plot. Bad writing? Maybe.
It's hard to say how good or bad the writing was. On one hand, it was meant to sound like realistic, casual (or non-casual, as the situation may have been) conversation, and although I suppose this got across well most of the time, there were situations where it seemed a little too scripted. The soldiers, for example, spoke like they were introducing you to a video game, and any hint of the romantic underplot was unrealistic in its cliche way.
The computer graphics made sure you knew that they were computer graphics - not as integrated into the film as is perhaps possible, but that can be forgiven. The beast - ya know, the thing that people go to the movie to see - was, ah... Interesting. It wasn't anything bizarre, but it certainly wasn't Godzilla. Think of it as a giant, lumbering, dull-gray spider/sloth with big teeth. It also dropped Zerglings. Scary Zerglings.
The script left things to be desired and the graphics weren't 100%, but the movie was intense, that's hard to deny. It pulled me into the moment - I felt scared, I felt paranoid, and I felt like I was under attack. The suspense was convincing!
My only real complaint about the movie, which, if you haven't seen it, is something to prepare for, is that the shaky camera made me dizzy. I understand what they were doing and thinking when they filmed it from the perspective of an amateur camera guy, but that doesn't change the fact that unsteady cinematography is disorienting.
I think the bottom line about this film is that it's different. It feels like an extra feature on the DVD of a real monster movie - a real film that's going on in the background of Cloverfield. That's the point, I think. There's something big going on, but the citizens of monster movies never see the picture that the audience sees.
It's a tragic film. Fun, scary, funny at times, but you'll leave the film feeling sad, I suspect. I did!
The fact that this film has set a record for best-selling January release means I don't really need to tell you to see it... And yet! I recommend this film. Go see it!