It’s a very good element of animation that it is so accessible and can be fit to work in any story no matter how extraordinary it may be. Animation allows the creator to be as unique and individual as possible, while also conveying an important message that deserves to be heard now more than ever. I can’t say that I loved “Tito and the Birds” but I very much enjoyed it is an imaginative and entertaining adventure with an important message to give its audience about prejudice, xenophobia, the value of animals, and the irrational hysterical fear of the impoverished that’s become so common.
Tito is a young boy who lives in the ghettos and idolizes his father, Dr. Rufus, who is experimenting with a machine that can communicate pigeons. After accidentally endangering Tito’s life, he leaves home at the demand of Tito’s mother. Years later there’s a mysterious plague spreading called “The Outbreak” that begins spreading throughout the city. When Tito realizes that the key to fixing the baffling outbreak is the pigeons, Tito teams with his best friends Buiu and Sarah to finish the gadget, and communicate with the pigeons for the sake of curing the disease. But they have to evade a crooked fear mongering politician, and his horde of biohazard soldiers to do so.
“Tito and the Birds” is first and foremost a message about acceptance and how prejudice can not only paralyze a civilization but cause them to devolve gradually. When we first see Tito he’s very much an open minded individual who is prone to being exposed to nothing but fear mongering. This is because of local politician Alaor Souza, a self-promoting billionaire and politician who make his money off of the fear of the people in Tito’s town. When the outbreak occurs, the patient that is infected is prone to having their personal appearance changed before the virus takes hold. Before long everyone in town are avoiding one another and causing alarm any time anyone seems even remotely sick.
Tito’s journey is based on his aspirations to realize his father’s dreams and somehow use the machine to connect him even closer to the man before. All the while he presents a model of the genuine sentiment of fearlessness and not really caring about anyone he crosses, in particular those afflicted by the outbreak. One of the prime elements of the overtones in the narrative is Tito’s best friend Buiu, a quiet kid with bulging eyes who doesn’t have the luxury of attending even public school, thus is approached as an outsider by many, except Tito and best friend Sarah. The animation for “Tito and the Birds” is beautiful and very much sets itself apart from most animated fare in theaters.
Every scene is presented with broad brush strokes that make the entire aesthetic of the film look like a moving painting. Surprisingly the animation style is very multi-faceted, lending a beautiful urban sprawl look to Tito’s world, as well as perfectly depicting the inherent terror behind the masked biohazard soldiers, and the gradual affects of the debilitating virus. “Tito and the Birds” is an original and very entertaining film that’ll speak waves to its audience about the ill effects of xenophobia and hatred. It’s an important value we need reminding of, and some of us are dire need of, right now.
Now in select New York theaters; Expanding to various major U.S. cities on February 1st.