Spoilers right off the top here:
Mega solar flare. Aliens. Nic Cage dies. The end.
Nic Cage is a conflicted dad. His wife has died, his son is weird, and he doesn't talk to his parents at all, and his sister only a smidgeon more. He's an astro-physicist at MIT (I know, stop laughing) where he discusses predestination and free will with his students. Well, maybe not exactly that, but in terms of video games, it's either a scripted encounter or you're fucked by the Random Number Generator.
Later on this induces several Close Encounters of the Third Kind moments of "This MEANS something!" It does kind of mean something, but not a whole lot, and ultimately doesn't really seem to matter.
Really, let me boil it down: predestination vs. free will. It's not a religious movie, but these are the basic ideas. The kids are predestined to start the human race over, and all of Cage's free will-based attempts to avert the last couple of disasters result in nothing. The disaster happens, the people die, and he's there to witness it first hand, crushing his spirit further. It's bleakly cynical, but then it's Nic Cage.
At least his hair is under control in this.
This movie reminds me a lot of Signs, with the conflicted dad suffering a crisis of faith after his wife has died, and there's some aliens, and doors being the key to everything!
Conflicted dad resolves his crisis of faith, and has an emotional reunion with his pastor dad, voiceless mom, and vaguely familiar looking sister. Aww, how wonderful. And then there's giant firestorm and the earth is destroyed. It's a bit like the beginning of Independence Day, except this has 12 years of digital technology advancements behind it, so it looks suitably fiery and death-like.
They completely ripped off my own end of the world scenario here. I always pictured it just like this: the world ends, and that's it. I will admit, however, that they had something I never thought of, and that is classical music. No reason to be uncultured while the earth is destroyed around you now, is there?
There was one moment where I thought something original might happen where Cage and kids see the aliens together, and I was expecting them to morph together into the Satanic chimera (like in the picture from Ezekiel earlier) and *blaow* end of the world everyone goes to hell. But no such luck. The aliens are motive-lessly benevolent.
Then the kids, whom the aliens whisked away to start the human race over, end up in It's a Small World, where they're all dressed in white and have joyfully blank looks on their faces. Unfortunately they are left to fend for themselves with only a pair of rabbits to provide for them everything they can't manage themselves.
Diana couldn't die soon enough. Too much time was wasted on her being a crying bitch, howling "It's for the children!" while in the middle of kidnapping Cage's son. She deserved a much bloodier death.
All the notable action scenes are in the trailer, though much pared down. I will admit I was impressed by both the plane crash (it goes on almost too long, and ends on a sour note, but until then I was motionless in my seat) and the world-destroying firestorm. The subway crash, I feel slightly badly about, made me laugh as people got mercilessly plowed over.
Almost as much as Nic Cage running made me laugh.
The music is horribly overwrought, and several times I was waiting for the opening music from Psycho (and Re-Animator) to continue playing. It's like it was written for a different movie, then someone matched up the score to the movie the best they could manage.
Also, I swear I found one of those rocks in Lake Huron. Wonder if that means the world will end this year.