I am a big fan of Godzilla movies. I have a small collection of them on dvd, a few from what I think are each of the different eras of the films. They're usually pretty fun without getting overly deep--maybe a statement or two about some issue, but not a lot before a monster or two shows up and things go from there.
The main difference from most Godzilla movies and "Cloverfield" has to do with the story's perspective. While most Godzilla's that I've seen give a balance between the monsters and the human stories, "Cloverfield" tells the story strictly from the human angle. The monster becomes the crisis, and is developed only in regards to that crisis.
Which isn't a criticism. In a Godzilla movie, almost all you really see of the common people are them running and screaming. The only people we really get to know are those actively involved in the crisis--military leaders and personnel, political leaders, scientists, a few other types along with sidekicks.
"Cloverfield" has its focus on a small group of otherwise fairly average people. They aren't trying to find some way to destroy the monster, nor have they really done anything to awaken to the terror and must some way to put it back to rest. They are simply caught up in it, and one of them takes along a video camera to record what is going on.
So we know what they know, which in the end isn't all that much. They arent "need to know" types of people.
It's a good movie, and I think well done given it's parameters. There are definite moments of creepiness and even jumpiness. It's a little frustrating at times that we aren't given very good looks at the monster on its rampage, especially in one scene where the friends get caught in the middle of a firefight between it and the military.
It's not an overly deep movie. The group of friends who are the focus of the recording are doing more reacting to what is happening around them then trying to respond to it. They are in a way more in damage-control mode then in any other way of thinking.
Don't go into it expecting answers and explanations.But if you can accept the story for what it is, it's enjoyable. I recommend it.