Exploring the Reef is a 2003 humorous short documentary film included on the second disc of the Finding Nemo DVD. It features Jean-Michel Cousteau in a documentary film he is trying to make about coral reefs, but Marlin, Dory, and Nemo keep interrupting him.
Jean-Michel is narrating about the ocean. As he starts talking about coral reefs, Dory starts bothering him by entering the frame. The scene then cuts to an anemone that Nemo and Marlin come out of and Jean-Michel sighs for not being able to do his documentary. The scene cuts to real cuttlefish, which Dory tries to speak to. When Jean-Michel tells Dory to stop it since she is interrupting the documentary again, the scene cuts to a live Spanish dancer. This makes Marlin think of dancing, and soon all three animated fish are dancing to some music. This infuriates Jean-Michel so much that he yells "Stop!" and proceeds to make a quick rant about the water cycle, concluding that "Everyone, everywhere, affects the ocean!". Dory expresses amazement, and at first Jean-Michel is satisfied, but when it is revealed that she was listening to the echo inside a conch shell, Jean-Michel loses his temper and starts ranting in French. For a few seconds, a cartoon still image of Cousteau appears while Musak-style music plays, on a title card which reads "Please Stand By."
When Jean-Michel comes back, he has calmed down. He talks with the three fish about coral that have suffered from coral bleaching, while the whitened coral appears on screen. The next topic is coral reproduction. Dory frantically swims to each new egg to say "Happy Birthday", Marlin paternally covers Nemo's eyes, and Jean-Michel talks about how there are so many eggs that even the hungriest fish cannot possibly eat all of them. He concludes by talking about how we must all work to preserve the beauty of the coral reef. Suddenly, Nemo and the other two fish interrupt him, inadvertently summarizing the message of the entire film during their arguing. Jean-Michel gets mad again, and the camera cuts to him aboard his boat at night. Humiliated that he has been out-staged by fish, Jean-Michel mutters that "this would have never happened to Papa." He then bids the viewer farewell. Before the credits, Nemo tells the viewer about Jean-Michel Cousteau's website: oceanfutures.org.
- The first Pixar production to mix live action with animation.