Your Friend the Rat is a 2007 animated short film by Pixar, originally released on the home video release of the film Ratatouille. The short takes on the form of an educational film and stars rats Remy and Emile, two of the protagonists of Ratatouille, who argue for the reconciliation of humans and rats. They use historical facts presented via various styles of animation.
This is Pixar's second short film to feature traditional animation; at eleven minutes, it is also the longest Pixar short to date. Along with 2D animation, the short also includes stop-motion animation, computer generated imagery (CGI) and live action.
Like Ratatouille, Your Friend the Rat also features a musical sequence. This is also Pixar's first short film to have a cameo of a protagonist of a film that releases a year later, which was a cameo of WALL-E. Your Friend the Rat won the Best Animated Short Subject category at the 35th annual Annie Awards and was released on DVD and Blu-ray with Disney·Pixar's Ratatouille (November 6, 2007).
The short starts in with Remy introducing himself and Emile to the audience and speaking on behalf of oppressed rats everywhere. Emile starts frowning about having to speak out, while Remy pulls a scroll and a two dimensional animation starts by presenting the relation between a human and a rat in contrast with human dog and human cat relationships. Remy points out that humans regarded rats in former times as sacred and luck bringing.
He says that during the Roman Empire if a white rat crosses your path, it brought good luck, while if a black rat crosses your path, it brought bad luck. He moves on to discussing black rats (Rattus rattus) and their connection to the Black Death, pointing out that it was caused by fleas not rats, resulting in the death of one third of Europe's population.
Remy further presents the brown rat's (Rattus norvegicus) history, mentioning their part in ending the Black Death, their honorable position in the Chinese zodiac and their sacredness in India for being the transport vehicle of the Hindu god Ganesh. The symbiotic relationship between rats and humans is introduced before the second appearance of Remy and Emile in 3D animation. Emile pulls a scroll from the side and presents through 2D animation the benefits of rats for the human.
He says that Jack Black was a rat catcher for Queen Victoria and that he kept the rats he captured as pets. Their use for laboratory testing and as pets show that they can have a good relationship with humans. Concluding the presentation Emile and Remy sing a song about the relationship between rats and humans. At the film's end, a long and drawn out (mostly satirical) disclaimer is shown asking children to stay away from rats, while Remy and Emile stand in front of it and try to remove it, urging the audience to ignore the warning and complaining about freedom of speech and lack of food, respectively.Patton Oswalt as Remy, a bluish-gray colored rat, who complains about the way people treat rats.
Peter Sohn as Emile, a brown rat. He loves to eat and sing, and seems to complain about the same subject as Remy does.
Lou Romano as Linguini, who appears in 2D primarily to depict the majority of human characters in different costumes.
Tony Russell as the Disclaimer Guy, the narrator saying the disclaimer at the end of the short.
Sigmund Vik as Norwegian Rat
Jim Capobianco as the off-screen director, who complains that the script doesn't go right.
John Ratzenberger as P.T. Flea from A Bug's Life, in a cameo appearance as "the flea"
The idea of a 2D short was initiated by Jim Capobianco after Brad Lewis sent an e-mail asking for extras for the DVD. Capobianco thought of an educational film bringing together all the information they gathered about rats in a funny way to the audience. The production of the short started during the last year of the Ratatouille production time and was finished in less than a year.
The animation is a mixture of CGI and 2D animation. Emile and Remy appear in CGI while their presentation is in 2D, which encompasses most of the short movie. The 2D animation in most scenes was done through traditional paper based animation with digital ink and paint while a few scenes such as the Canada vs. Rats video game were done in Toon Boom. There is also a snippet of live action film, a clip showing an Oriental rat flea.
During the production, a book called Your Friend the Rat: A Little Golden Book, which includes the music and lyrics to the song "Plan B," was created by Jim Capobianco.