Dazzling Artistic Visuals & Pedestrian Storytelling

From Brazil comes this uniquely animated children’s movie more likely to please fawning adult critics than actual children used to the more refined storytelling found in the latest Pixar or DreamWorks blockbuster. A boy and his friends set out to find his father’s missing research on bird songs, something that could possibly save the world from an expanding epidemic where fear makes you sick. Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar and André Catoto’s animated Tito and The Birds acts as a crude political allegory condemning the current situation in the United States.

Tito and the Birds is nominally a film about a little boy and his journey to save the world from fear. Tito is a 10-year-old boy living with his mother. An epidemic of “Fear” is making more and more people sick, transforming them. Tito realizes his father’s old research about bird language and song may hold the cure for the disease.

His father Mr. Rufus was forced to leave when Tito was younger. Tito’s quest to find a cure becomes linked with the search to find his father again, along with his own identity. Tito’s journey is about a boy learning to overcome his own fears along the way.

… interesting visuals may be enough by themselves to carry the scattered plotting and one-note characters

Set in an unnamed country run by a fear-mongering television personality, fear is used to sell everyone on the idea of “Domed Gardens” that will keep everything bad out. This starts the spread of a fear epidemic, infecting Tito’s friends.

Politics aside, the muddled storytelling is underwhelming. Characters and their thin motivations remain consistent, if undeveloped. Tito’s friends are little more than props. Made for children, the movie is often dominated by adult characters and concepts that will fly over younger audiences’ heads.

Come see Tito and the Birds for its brilliantly unique and occasionally mesmerizing new animation techniques, which recall an oil painting come to life. The Brazilian movie feels more intended for the arthouse circuit than it does as simple entertainment for children. While many adults will be happy with its obvious allegorical intentions, it’s not a great movie strictly for entertainment purposes. The interesting visuals may be enough by themselves to carry the scattered plotting and one-note characters.


The most distinctive trait of Tito and the Birds is its quirky, raw animation that looks like nothing else before it. Think a living oil painting with movement in textured backgrounds. Lacking the polish of shiny CGI animation coming out of Hollywood, necessity is often the mother of invention. Employing new animation techniques using a combination of paints and photoshop due to budgetary issues, the animators have crafted lush and vibrant animation that truly breathes with energy. The filmmakers say it’s inspired by expressionism.

Courtesy of Shout Factory, the actual Blu-ray presentation is pristine and sparkling with awesome color. It looks quite stunning and wondrous at times. Clarity is impressive and showcases the small details and variations in each brush stroke.

The main feature clocks in under 74 minutes, encoded in superb AVC on a BD-25. This is one animated feature without compression problems. Presented at the movie’s intended 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, Tito and the Birds has flawless black levels. Richly-saturated primary colors in the bold palette make quite an impression.


Both the native Portuguese soundtrack from Brazil and a fine English dub come in 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio. The low-budget animation doesn’t boast elaborate sound design but delivers clean, crisp dialogue. Most action is limited to the front soundstage with a sprinkling of more immersive surround. While lacking the scope and dynamics of animated Hollywood fare, Tito and the Birds has decent audio in lossless fidelity.

Two sets of English subs are provided. An English SDH option functions as dubtitles for the English-language soundtrack, while a more proper English translation of the Portuguese soundtrack is the second option.


Shout Factory’s Blu-ray and DVD combo set comes with a glossy slipcover. The Blu-ray is locked to Region A.

Interview With Director/Writer/Producer Gustavo Steinberg And Producer Daniel Greco (17:41 in HD) – Steinberg discusses how he came up with the story and accidentally hitting upon the unique expressionistic animation techniques used in creating the movie’s signature backgrounds. The two men definitely explain their aims making the movie and how they got there. The interview is in English.

Theatrical Trailer (01:47 in HD)

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Tito and the Birds
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Striking visuals and new animation techniques are the real draw in this fairly muddled political allegory aimed at children.

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