With 2020 officially ushering in the Year of the Rat since January 25th, we have handpicked eight of the most popular fictional rats in animations and movies. Here is the list of both cartoon and CGI rats below, perfect to continue to ring in the Year of the Rat!
1) Mickey Mouse
Easily the most popular and recognisable fictional rat of all-time, this famous anthropomorphic black mouse sporting a pair of red shorts with white gloves and yellow shoes made his debut in the black-and-white short film “Steamboat Willie” in 1928. Mickey Mouse has since appeared in numerous films and animated series including “Fantasia” (1940), “Fantasia 2000” (1999) and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” (2006-2016).
Those who wereborn in the 80s and 90s would most probably be familiar with the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon series, which actually goes way back to 1975. The setup is pretty much about the (mis)adventures of Tom (the silly housecat) and his enemy Jerry (the smart brown mouse) often engaged in a violent cat-and-mouse chase. The slapstick and the largely mute approach of the cartoon series proved to be a big hit among many adults and kids at the time. The “Tom and Jerry” cartoon series can be seen in numerous feature films, beginning with “Tom and Jerry: The Movie” released in 1993 while there will be an upcoming live-action/animated hybrid comedy to be released this December.
3) Speedy Gonzales
Back in 2016, there was news that Looney Tunes’ “fastest mouse in all of Mexico” will be getting a live-action/animation feature treatment with Eugenio Derbez of 2019’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” set to voice the title character. While the planned big-screen version remains in limbo, Speedy Gonzales is undoubtedly one of the most popular cartoon characters who exist way back in 1955. His loud Mexican accent is instantly recognisable (”Andale, andale! Arriba, arriba! Yepa, yepa!”), coupled with his trademark oversized yellow sombrero with a red scarf and white clothes.
4) Stuart Little
Based on E.B. White’s classic children’s novel of the same name, “Stuart Little” famously made a big-screen appearance in two live-action/CGI hybrid films, with the first 1999 version being the most successful one of them all. Voiced by Michael J. Fox of “Back to the Future” trilogy’s fame, the first film detailed on the titular young mouse as Little’s (Geena Davis’ Eleanor and Hugh Laurie’s Frederick) newest family member but their cat Snowbell (Nathan Lane) isn’t too pleased with his appearance. Believe it or not, M. Night Shyamalan (yes, the same filmmaker who gave us “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable”) happened to be one of the co-writers of the first film.
Here’s a classy rat who shunned leftover foods from the garbage. For Remi (voiced by Patton Oswalt) in Pixar’s “Ratatouille” (2007), he’s more interested in fine dining and even has a passion of becoming a chef. Despite the name of the title, it has nothing to do with a dish made from rats. Instead, “Ratatouille” is actually a French vegetable stew consists of typical ingredients like onion, bell peppers, zucchini and tomato. “Ratatouille” is directed by Brad Bird, who is also responsible for Pixar’s highly-successful “Incredibles” franchise in 2004 and 2018.
6) Mighty Mouse
Those who watched the “Mighty Mouse” cartoon series back in the old days would probably recognise his Superman-like heroic personality and Mighty’s famous operatic singing voice “Here I come to save the day!”. First appeared in 1942, “Mighty Mouse” has appeared in both cartoon series and feature film adaptations including “Mighty Mouse in the Great Space Chase” (1982) and the long-in-development CGI/live-action hybrid.
7) Fievel Mousekewitz
It’s hard to believe that “An American Tail” which features the Russian mouse (voiced by Phillip Glasser) on a quest to find his missing family as he ended up lost in America isn’t a Disney film. It turned out that the animated feature was produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment under the Universal Pictures banner. “An American Tail” proved to be a huge hit in 1986 and has spawned three more films between 1991 and 1999.
8) Mrs. Brisby
Voiced by Elizabeth Hartman, Mrs. Brisby is a widowed mother who single-handedly took care of her three children (Shannen Doherty’s Teresa, Wil Wheaton’s Martin and Ian Fried’s Timmy) in “The Secret of NIMH”. A departure from the usual Disney-like formula, former Disney animator Don Bluth isn’t afraid of incorporating dark tones into his animated feature. While the film did receive widespread critical acclaim, it didn’t exactly set the box office on fire. Still, “The Secret of NIMH” has since developed a cult following. It even spawned a 1998 direct-to-video sequel titled “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue”.