1

In the movie Moana, the characters fall into a giant cave with a giant coconut cave named Tamatoa. This environment looks like it is underwater:

  • Moana encounters giant coral, anemones, and clams here.
  • In some scenes, it appears that there are circling fishes above them.
  • Fish drop from above to feed Tamatoa.

But the characters do not create bubbles, do not swim here, and are there for a long time.

Is this area underwater? What is the explanation for this strange habitat?

7

They are in Lalotai, the realm of the monsters.

Also known as the Realm of Monsters, the entrance to Lalotai can be accessed atop a high mountain on a remote island. The passageway (a pit) leads to an undersea environment home to a number of exotic, demonic and ferocious creatures — one of which being Tamatoa, a villainous giant crab.

The realm exists under the sea, but is not in the sea:

Lalotai is derived from two proto-Polynesian words: "lalo" means "below" and "tai" means "the sea." Together, they form a term that means "below the sea" or "under the ocean". Lalotai is also known as "the underworld".

So they aren't surrounded by water, but are in a magical realm, and can be assumed to be breathing air, or whatever passes for an atmosphere there.

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