Having sat through Cloverfield tonight, I must note that Pajiba put it best when reviewer Daniel Carlson described it as "what it’s like to be young, slightly drunk, and running for your life."
For better or worse, I couldn't look away. Though 84 minutes might seems like too short a running time to make an impact on anybody, I can't imagine Cloverfield needing to be any longer. Everything that needed to happen happened, save perhaps for a moment that might make the characters' motivations seem more plausible. (Why would anyone traipse back into Manhattan when only death — either fiery or toothy or crushy — would await you? Friendship beyond the terms that I understand it, I suppose.) However, I'm not sure motivation really matters, since monster movies have survived for generations with characterizations more shallow than this. Besides, there's something sickly fun about seeing hipsters stomped by a second-string Godzilla. Young people, at a party that I or my peers could have attended, being forced to drunkenly stumble out into the big city and flee an unexplained gargantuan terror? Sign me up, and put me down for a "Where's your irony now, cool kid?" as the urbane and urbane get permanently death-ified by something prehistorically angry. (And while we're on the subject: Liz L., I don't know if you would ever read my blog or this post in particular, but Lizzy Caplan's character reminds me of you in a way that actually pulled me out of the movie a little. Only you're better off than she was.) One sentence synopsis: everything good and bad about monster movies, with the inherent "wha?!" factor in knowing that the man who directed this also directed The Pallbearer.