Blu-ray Review: Tito & The Birds

We live in a time where fear is not just all around us, it’s a great way to make a fortune. Think of the cable news networks that use fear as an amazing way to keep an audience glued to the screen. If they just read the news, they’d have eyeballs for 30 minutes a day. But with around the clock pundits stoking the fear, ominous graphics and commercials for things you should own before society falls apart, a kid can feel they were born on the brink of a Mad Max apocalypse. The schools practice active shooter drills. The fear is suffocating to an elementary student’s small lungs. Tito and the Birds is an animated film from Brazil that pushes the fear to the next level.

Tito is a young boy who is amazed as his scientific father works on a device that will help us understand birds. However the invention has a major issue that leads to Tito’s mother forcing the father out of the house before he kills them all with his machines. While Tito is dealing with his parents breaking up, an epidemic sweeps the city. People become fearful and get extremely sick. A downtown real estate developer offers a solution when he domes off part of the city and declares no fear if you live inside his city. Tito decides to find a real cure as he revives his father’s invention as part of the school’s science fair. But will bringing back the device spark even more fear and get people sick instead of finding help through bird songs?

Tito and the Birds is animated like a oil painting that’s being constantly brushed while the story unfolds. Director Gustavo Steinberg and his crew bring out the sense of overwhelming fear in the characters as things get more and more tense. It’s not a beautiful, crisp and clean world for Tito and his pals. The vision is ragged, crushing and claustrophobic. But everything isn’t completely bleak. The message about overwhelming fear leading to people getting sick is so worth telling in these days where almost seems abnormal to enjoy a beautiful day. Tito and the Birds is a bit of hope in a fearful landscape.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The resolution beings out the brush strokes that allow scenes to come out of each other in the oil painting swishes. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is in both English and Portuguese. Since this is an animated film, it doesn’t matter which track you play. Both have the same impact storywise. The movie is subtitled in English.

DVD has all the elements of the Blu-ray.

Interview with director/writer/producer Gustavo Steinberg and producer Daniel Greco (17:41) lets them talk about the fear that grips the characters. Steinberg speaks of how you can fear in the air in Sao Paulo, Brazil, his hometown. He wants to address how our culture of 24/7 news channels help amp up the fear in a child’s life.

Theatrical Trailer (1:47) talks about the contagious nature of fear.

Shout! Factory presents Tito and the Birds. Directed by Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar & André Catoto. Screenplay by: Eduardo Benaim & Gustavo Steinberg. Starring: Denise Fraga, Pedro Henrique, Matheus Nachtergaele & Mateus Solano. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 74 minutes. Released: April 23, 2019.

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