‘The Moon’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Did Kim Jae-Guk Save Hwang Sun-Woo?


Directed by Youn Hwa Kim, The Moon, is the story of a space scientist who left his lucrative job at NASA and came back to his own country to make the dream of going to the moon and exploring it a reality. But there were a lot of roadblocks that he encountered on his journey, and things didn’t turn out the way he had planned. He committed a blunder, and he had a lot to repent for. So, let’s find out if life gives Kim Jae-guk a chance to redeem himself or if he just ends up drowning in his own sorrows.

Spoiler Alert

What Happened During The Landing Of Woori-Ho?

Woori-ho was the second attempt by Korea to launch a moon exploration rocket and become the second country after the United States of America to carry out research on the surface of the moon. Lee Sang-won, Cho Yoon-jong, and Hwang Sun-woo were selected to be astronauts for this crucial mission because of their expertise in the area. Though Hwang Sun-woo didn’t have a lot of experience as a pilot, due to his Navy Seal training, he got an edge over the others because he had the experience of being in extremely difficult situations, and the scientists and engineers at the Korean Aerospace Institute knew that they needed someone like that. Hwang Sun-woo’s father, Hwang Gyu-Tae, was the tech lead in the first mission that happened five years ago. The spacecraft had exploded back then as soon as it was launched, and the failure of the mission had deeply impacted the man. Gyu-tae was no longer alive, but his son, Sun-woo, wanted to honor his memory and make this mission a success.

As soon as Woori-ho was launched, another anomaly happened, and it felt like the universe was conspiring against Korea because the timing couldn’t have been more terrible. Due to unprecedented solar winds, the satellites had to be shut down, and even the USA’s manned lunar gateway was affected by the crisis. The three astronauts were out there in the void, and the Korean team had no means to communicate with them. They all took a breath of relief when somehow, the astronauts made contact and told them that they were all safe. The Korean team at the space research center started making arrangements to provide them with all the support that they needed because the country couldn’t afford to lose more lives, and they didn’t want history to repeat itself.

Lee and Cho were checking the spacecraft from the outside, and they believed that they would be able to repair it. Sun-woo, who had limited knowledge about the technology, was getting all paranoid, but his two partners told him to stay calm as they assured him that they had everything under control. The astronauts noticed that there was a leak in the fuel tank, and before they could even process this information, there was a huge explosion in which Cho Yoon-jong immediately lost his life, though Commander Lee managed to hold on to his hatchet and not get blown away by the explosion. Lee had realized that he wouldn’t be able to make it out of there alive, and in his last moments, he asked Sun-woo to reboot the full system power so that he was able to get the communications on and return safely. Sun-woo stood there and saw Commander Lee open his hatch and disappear into oblivion forever.

Back at the space research center, a decision was made to call one of the two surviving scientists who had designed the spacecraft. That’s when Kim Jae-guk was contacted, and immediately brought to the space research center, as he was the only person who could bring Sun-woo back to earth safely. Now, Kim wanted Sun-woo to stay where he was. He said that he was in contact with the US nationals in the lunar gateway, and in the meantime, he was also making preparations to repair the command module. But Sun-woo had other plans. He was of the opinion that instead of waiting there and putting his faith in others, he should try to land on the moon. He didn’t know how to actually fly the spacecraft, but he was adamant about making use of the autopilot and whatever help and guidance he could get from the space center. Sun-woo was ready to defy the odds and became the first Korean to carry out explorations on the surface of the moon. History is created by those who have grit and determination, and on that day, Sun-woo achieved the impossible and made his entire nation proud. But still, the battle was only half won, and the danger of a meteor shower was looming over his head. And to survive those conditions and come back alive was going to be a herculean task.

Was Kim Jae-Guk Able To Save Hwang Sun-Woo?

The dreaded meteor shower started happening when Sun-woo was collecting samples from the surface of the moon. He had to rush towards his aircraft, and when he tried propelling it forward to escape that region, he met with a terrible accident as the surface was like dry gravel soil, and it wasn’t able to provide the proper support. Su-woo was terribly injured, and he lost all hope. Meanwhile, Kim tried to contact his ex-wife, Yoon Moon-young, who was in a high position at NASA. Kim knew that NASA had their astronauts on the lunar gateway, and that they could help Sun-woo and save his life. Moon-young wanted to help Kim, but there were clear directives from the government that they didn’t want to provide any sort of assistance because of the political tension that had happened after the first Korean mission, which had led to Korea being taken out of the international space committee.

Everybody back in Korea believed that Sun-woo had died, and even Kim had gone back to his place to drown himself in sorrow. But NASA knew that Sun-Woo was still alive as the lunar gateway had intercepted the radio messages that he was trying to send to his own space station.

Moon Young’s conscience didn’t allow her to just sit there and let a boy die when she knew that the astronauts could save him. She passed classified information to Kim, informing him that his son was pretty much alive. That’s when Kim established contact with Sun-woo and Han-byeol, his assistant uploaded that video, where they were conversing on YouTube. That small clip of Sun-woo and Kim talking created waves on social media, and US citizens came forward in support of the Koreans and asked their own government to save the boy. The dynamics totally changed, and now the US government knew that they didn’t have any other option but to go ahead with the rescue plan. Moon Young knew that the guards could come anytime and take her into custody, so she locked the room of her office and established contact with the astronauts who were there at the lunar gateway. She told them that though there was no directive from the government, it was up to them if they wanted to go out there and save the boy and make the world believe that there was still some humanity left in them.

All this while, Sun-woo believed that it was because of his father that the lives of those three astronauts, who were inside the Narae-ho spacecraft, were lost. He told Kim that his father had left a letter in which he had written that he knew that there were some faults in the engine but had still gone ahead with the plan. That’s when Kim had the big reveal and told Sun-woo that his father was not guilty of anything, as he didn’t want to go ahead with the mission. It was Kim who, even after knowing that there was a possibility that the spacecraft might explode, gave the green signal to the mission five years ago.

The possibility of an explosion happening was way too low, and after all the delays, Kim was just done waiting. He had lost his patience, and he didn’t want to wait any longer to make Korea the second nation after the USA to carry out an expedition to the moon. He had left his job at NASA and came back to his own country, where he let the world know what he was capable of. Probably, his decision to come back was the reason why he and Moon Young separated. But he prioritized his country over anything else, and that’s why, in order to prove his worth, he launched Narae-ho, though he realized that he should have listened to his colleague and not acted in such haste.

After listening to Kim, Sun-woo felt like somebody had lifted a huge burden off his shoulders. During The Moon‘s ending, he got ready to once again try and go near that area where the United States of America had its base. With Kim’s help, Sun-woo was able to achieve that feat, and he was rescued by the astronauts at the lunar gateway. As a result of undertaking such a daunting mission and coming out victorious, Korea was once again included in the International Space Committee, and the Korean president declared that he would share the findings of the mission with the entire world so mankind could benefit from them. Moon Young became the first female director of NASA, and Kim went back to his place to teach the young generation and motivate them to become space explorers and work for the betterment of their nation and mankind.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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