The Moon (2023) Movie Ending, Explained- Will Hwang Sun-woo survive the Moon Mission?

The Moon (2023) Original Title: 더 문

The Moon (2023) Movie Explained: The Moon (2023) is a South Korean space survival film. The film follows the story of a South Korean astronaut stranded on the moon after a solar flare damages his spacecraft. The astronaut must rely on the help of a former space program director to survive and return to Earth. It’s a movie with great visuals and highs and lows throughout.

This article contains spoilers.

The Moon (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The story is set in December 2029 in South Korea. Five Years prior, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KASA) had sent a crewed mission to the moon to be part of the countries that had successfully landed on the moon. But during that mission, all the astronauts died due to some technical glitch, leaving South Korea with a failed moon mission. Now, in the present, South Korea is attempting to send three astronauts on a crewed mission to the moon.

The three astronauts, Lee Sang-won, Cho Yoon-jon, and Hwang Sun-woo, get intense training to prepare for the moon mission. Before they take off, the three astronauts share a few words with the public, such as Lee Sang-won, who decides to name his unborn baby girl when he is on the mission while looking at the Earth. Cho Yoon-Jon was going on the mission for his wife and son. Finally, the story’s protagonist, Hwang Sun-woo, was going on this mission to fulfill his father’s dreams.

Everyone in the control room waits with bated breath as the rover is launched. Everyone cheers on as the rover successfully takes off. They are close to the moon. Lee Sang-won and Cho Yoon-jon are outside the rover, checking and repairing it, as solar winds damage all the satellites. Hwang Sun-woo gets worked up as he sees some errors in the reading. The other astronauts calm him down and tell him to relax and play good music.

As Cho Yoon-jon is repairing the rover, he opens a panel, and all the astronauts realize there is fuel leakage. There is a blast killing Cho Yoon-jon. They lose communication with the control room temporarily. Lee Sang-won is hurt and orders Hwang Sun-woo to ask the control room to send rescue. The control room gets back contact, and Hwang Sun-woo explains everything that happened. The Director is worried, unable to understand what to do. The Director asks him to stand by until they can find a solution. The minister of science loses his mind over the situation.

They decide to bring in the former Director of the moon mission, Kim Jae-guk, as he would know how to repair the rover remotely and bring Hwang Sun-woo back to Earth safely. Kim Jae-guk is with an intern on a mountain as he has run away after a failed mission to the moon. He comes to KASA after he is informed that Hwang Sun-woo was the astronaut, the son of Hwang Kyu-tae, who had worked on the previous mission along with Kim Jae-guk, and he was told that NASA was not ready to help them.

Kim Jae-guk reaches the control room and talks to Hwang Sun-woo. He instructs Hwang Sun-woo to make some changes from inside the rover. Hwang Sun-woo asks the control room who he is talking to, and after finding out, he refuses to leave his life in Kim Jae-guk’s hands as he has failed to save his father. Subsequently, Hwang Sun-woo decides to land on the moon after seeing photographs of his fellow astronauts’ families. He gets very emotional and decides to complete the mission at any cost for the astronauts who had lost their lives, his father, and for Korea.

Do Kyung-soo as Hwang Seon-woo in The Moon (2023)
Do Kyung-soo as Hwang Seon-woo in The Moon (2023)

Kim Jae-guy thinks it’s a bad idea and asks the intern Han-bool to keep track of meteor showers. Kim Jae-guk called his ex-wife, Yoon Moon-young, who now works for NASA, for help. But she refuses, saying it isn’t permitted. Hwang Sun-woo successfully lands on the moon while Kim Jae-guk works on repairing the lander. Hwang Sun-woo steps onto the moon’s surface, takes his fellow astronaut’s uniform, takes pictures with his family, and places it on its surface. He also sets the South Korean flag. He collects rocks and other materials from the moon while the drone keeps track of the surroundings.

There was panic in the control room as meteor showers were falling on the moon’s surface. Kim Jae-guk was informed of this by Yoon Moon-young. Hwang Sun-woo communicates with the control room that he had found ice underneath the moon’s surface, and the meteor showers had stopped. But as the scientists watch the visuals, the meteor showers start to appear, and Hwang Sun-woo is asked to get inside the lander quickly. He tries to rush out but gets stuck inside a crater. Kim Jae-guk asks the scientist to reset the command module system. Hwang Sun-woo uses the drone to lift himself and manages to get inside the lander in time. He takes off, and the next step is to connect to the command module.

Everything is set for docking, and the lander is almost inside the command module, but a meteor hit it. Hwang Sun-woo is asked to manually release the lander. However, he inhales ammonia and starts feeling dizzy. They lose signal while he is still being instructed. They lost connection with him for over 4 hours, and no one in the control unit is optimistic about his survival. He had crashed into the dark side of the moon. Yoon Moon-young decides to help Kim Jae-guk and tells him how to talk to Hwang Sun-woo and that Hwang Sun-woo is alive.

Kim Jae-guk takes Han-byeol and reaches an observatory to connect with Hwang Sun-woo. Meanwhile, Hwang Sun-woo was calling out to the NASA satellites to help him. Han-byeol records Hwang Sun-woo’s cry for help and his conversation with Kim Jae-guk. Han-bool tells Kim Jae-Duk that she will upload the video and audio on YouTube and is left behind in the observatory to keep Hwang Sun-woo from sleeping. The YouTube video is going viral and is shown on news channels across the globe.

The higher-ups at NASA reprimanded Yoon Moon-young as it was obvious how Koreans could reach out to Hwang Sun-woo. Hwang Sun-woo, along with Kim Jae-guk’s help, tries to launch the command module as they now have the support of NASA and are sending a rescue mission. The lunar gateway is on the way so that they can dock the command module. The launch fails as the module doesn’t have the right space and is not aligned to take off. The lunar gateway stops when the command module launch is canceled.

Hwang Sun-woo decides to give up and shuts down power and oxygen and is ready to die in space as everything that could be done was done. Before he does that, he tells the control room that his father knew a month before the first moon mission that the engine had faults, which was written in a letter. He wants people to know his father’s truth before he embraces death.

Kim Jae-guk stops him from turning off communication by revealing more truth. He asks him to forgive his father as his father had approached him a day before the launch about the faulty engine. But the chances of an accident were less, so he went ahead with the launch. He tells him that the mission had been postponed so many times that he couldn’t do it again. This motivates Hwang Sun-woo to try to get back to Earth.

The Moon (2023) Movie Ending, Explained: Will Hwang Sun-woo survive the Moon Mission?

Yoon Moon-young asked Kim Jae-guk to launch again as the surroundings supported the launch this time, and this was the last thing that she and NASA could do to help Hwang Sun-woo because she knew she would be fired. Yoon Moon-young appeals to the astronauts on the lunar gateway by reminding them that they are all from different countries. However, they are all astronauts, and one of their fellow astronauts was desperately calling out for help, and they should decide whether to help him. Meanwhile, Hwang Sun-woo launches the command module again and reaches the brighter side of the moon. He takes the help of the drone to act like a parachute and falls on the moon’s surface.

The lunar gateway astronauts decide to help Hwang Sun-woo and complete their rescue operation successfully. Yoon Moon-young is selected as the head of NASA despite at first being fired. The White House made a personal decision to give her this position since her humane gesture took precedence over everything else. In the film’s last scene, we see Hwang Sun-woo in an astronaut uniform saluting Kim Jae-guk.

The film started great by giving us a good backstory and keeping us on the edge for a little while. However, the movie could have been shorter, making the events faster to keep momentum. In the final scene, we see Hwang Sun-woo saluting Kim Jae-guk, showing that he probably had forgiven Kim Jae-guk for everything that had happened during the first moon mission.

The Moon (2023) Themes Analyzed:

Relationship between humans and technology: Technology, especially for space explorations and, more importantly, for crewed missions, is always risky. No matter how much technology develops, accidents are bound to happen. This relationship is beautifully explored in this film. We see the spacecraft getting damaged repeatedly throughout the movie for various reasons. The astronauts in the spaceship or in the control room are helpless throughout.

The ownership of space resources: The film makes you question the space resources and their ownership. We see NASA in the film was initially not ready to help Hwang Sun-woo because he was on a crewed mission from another country. Even in getting coordinates of where Hwang Sun-woo had crashed, Yoon Moon-young had to secretly give information. In the end, the president of South Korea mentioned that any information they gathered from the resources brought from the moon was to be shared with everyone. The film battles with this idea until the end.

Also, Read: 10 South Korean Thrillers With Notable Socio-Economic Commentary

The Moon Information

The Moon External Link: Rotten Tomatoes
 Adventure, Drama, Sci-fi, Mystery & thriller
Original Language: Korean
Director: Kim Yong-hwa
Producer: Ho-jin Seo
Writer: Kim Yong-hwa
Release Date (Theaters):   Limited
Runtime: Distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment
Production Co: CJ ENM Co., Vlad Studio, CJ Entertainment

Where to watch The Moon
Sanghavi P.S

Hey this is Sanghavi, a cinephile who eats, sleeps, and breathes films and series. When not indulging in the cine world, you'll find me exploring the world with my camera in hand, capturing life's fleeting moments. With an insatiable curiosity, I believe that life is one big adventure waiting to be experienced.