I thought the movie was fine, neither great nor horrible, but I had a lot of trouble enjoying the last 45 minutes of it as the shaky-cam made me nauseous. I have the same issue with certain first person shooter video games.
I wish I had taken a Dramamine. I was sick for hours afterwards.
That said, I thought it was a well made movie. While I didn't think it was great, I appreciate that they stuck to their guns and kept it a one camera film, and screw the tape length - it's like John Woo's bullet count.
And the details were good - the fact that I had little 9/11 flashbacks the entire damn time showed an attention to NYC logistics that was impressive to see, except of course for the fact that our illustrious crew of hipster protagonists were apparently all Olympic-level runners (see-below).
I didn't mind the sappy and extremely predictable ending. I was a little confused as to why the monster would spit the camera guy out instead of just eating him. I thought the little spore monsters were a little contrived and unnecessary; I realize they wanted to do Aliens-esque scenes indoors and underground, but, well, whatever... I'm sure there'll be plenty of people geeking out about them and that's fine.
And I while I appreciate the idea of leaving out the details and just going from a civilian perspective, in the end I realized that what I like about sci-fi movies is the background. I'm hoping that if they do a sequel they just go ahead and satisfy our curiosity in a traditional film. With NO shaky cam.
I thought the acting was fine, though the camera man, Hud, was not nearly funny enough to provide the "Hud"son (yet another Aliens reference anyone?) comic relief he was there for. I could have done with about 5 minutes less party exposition as their hipster actor pool was about as interesting as a pool full of hipsters.
In the end, would have been much better had it been Godzilla. Though, even with my near vomiting, it was still better than I Am Legend.
I did kinda geek out myself over the Star Trek trailer before hand.
HOLLYWOOD GEOGRAPHY VS. REALITY
Anyway, as a little Nerdcore exercise, I worked out the distances and timing on the 59th Street run the characters make in the third act of the movie. I'm almost positive I've missed some details, events and extra time, etc... I was pretty sick by this point and don't necessarily remember everything that happened on the way to the Time Warner building.
I believe I saw the guy's watch when they came out of the military camp and it read around 4:30. Giving them an hour and a half to get to the dust off point at 6am.
0.86 miles - From the 59th street 6 train station to the Time Warner building at 59th and 8th Avenue.
Time Warner building is 69 stories tall.
1.46 miles - From Time Warner building to 40th and Park Avenue.
Total run: 2.32 miles + 138 flights of stairs.
Let's pretend for a moment that these three hipsters are coincidentally former Olympic-caliber athletes - Amanda Beard, Lance Armstrong and Apollo Anton Ohno go to a SoHo party when the city is attacked by a kaiju. We'll give them a 7 minute mile pace, even though it'd more realistically be around 12 minutes, considering one of them was a girl in heels and the camera guy was dying after running like 10 blocks. No matter. 7 x 2.32 = 16.24 minutes on the ground in a flat-out run. And that's with no debris, screaming hordes, cars, or giant monsters in their way.
They get to the 69-story-tall Time Warner building. The Empire State Building, by comparison, is 86 stories tall. The record time for running the Empire State building stairs is 9:33 for men and 11:23 for women. Let's say Hipsters 1, 2, 3 take a ripping step aerobics class at Crunch Fitness and are absolutely ready for the challenge, footwear and all. 69/86 x 11:23 = 9 minutes up and 9 minutes down, or 18 minutes on the stairs. 5 minutes in the penthouse pulling the girlfriend off a piece of rebar, a minute fighting the pseudo-Alien in the stairwell makes for a total of 24 minutes.
So 24 plus 16.24 minutes equals approximately 40 minutes tops to get to the building, rescue the princess, and get to the choppers! 50 minutes to spare!
In a magical fairy land called Hollywood.
Real time would have been like 2 hours, if not more.