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STEM Movie Spotlight: Avatar 2

By Sidra Miller

Avatar 2: The Way of Water is a science-fiction film directed by James Cameron, and it is the sequel to the 2009 blockbuster movie Avatar. Due to its violence and profanity, it’s been rated as a PG-13 movie. Similar to our solar system, the movie’s set on a fictional moon called Pandora, which orbits around a sun called Polyphemus. Several STEM aspects are explored in the movie including biology, environmental science, and engineering.

The world of Pandora is known for its unique flora and bioluminescent species. It’s inspired by Earth’s ecosystem. Pandora is also home to the Na'vi, a humanoid species that live in harmony with the natural world. The Na'vi have a deep spiritual connection to Pandora and view themselves as caretakers of the moon's environment. They sustainably use technology and balance with the environment, with much of their technology being inspired by the natural world around them. For example, the Na’vi use a fiber optic called a “neutral interface” to connect with living organisms, allowing them to share sensory experiences with others. They also use bows and arrows made from organic materials on Pandora, and their homes are made from natural materials such as wood and vine. Contrary to their use of technology is closely tied to the environment, the human military forces that arrive on the moon use higher weaponry, but are more destructive and unsustainable in an attempt to extract the Na’vi’s resources and subjugate them. Overall, the use of biology and environmental science is a critical aspect of STEM that shows the Na’vi’s relationship to their land and how it affects their lifestyle.

There are multiple engineering and machinery aspects in Avatar 2. One important part is the Skel Suit. The Skel Suit is an exoskeleton, which is designed as a multipurpose capability amplifier for military and industrial applications. Unlike the older AMP suit which is much bulkier, making it harder to move as fast, the new Skel Suit is more stripped down, sacrificing defense while enhancing speed. It was intended to be used by humans and helps fight against the Na’vi. The Na’vi are much taller and stronger than humans, so the Skel Suit makes humans ‘equal’ to them in terms of height, strength, and stamina. Another piece of technology is the S-76 Seadragon. The creation of this ship was inspired by a mix of lun-class ekranoplan (a vehicle used by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s) and hydrofoil elements. This means that as the ship gains speed, the hull lifts higher. In the movie, the S-76 Seadragon is used and is very helpful for hunting whale-like creatures called Tulkans. In The Way of Water, humans hunt down Tulkans to threaten the Na’vi of their presence. It’s learned later in the movie that in a Tulkan’s brain, there’s a very rare compound called Unobtanium, which can only be found on Pandora. The humans are very Unobtanium because it makes them immortal, which is an inclining reason for them to hunt Tulkans.

The 2 types of technology used were only a few of the many featured in the movie. Avatar 2 is a very interesting movie which lots of action, machinery, and new scenery, making it very fun to watch. With a different environment and machinery, many STEM aspects can spark creativity. The movie also carries the theme of friendship and sticking together, so everyone has something to take away from it. There are some emotional aspects to it, making it great to see with friends and family.

Works Cited

Kessler, Ana. “A Short Breakdown of Avatar 2’S Vehicles.” 80.Lv, 3 Jan. 2023,


“Skel Suit.” Avatar Wiki,

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