The film--which pairs first-time feature director Jorge Gutierrez with horror kingpin Guillermo del Toro--is scheduled for Halloween in its marketing however it will break traditional Halloween animation trends by featuring a story about Dia de las Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. However the claim that it's unlike anything you've seen just isn't true. I fact the blocky puppet style characters are very similar if not too similar to those from the classic Lucas Arts game "The Grim Fandango" which is one of my most beloved games.
The film features iconography drawing on that holiday, as opposed to familiar vampires/werewolves/etc. The Book Of Life's trailer certainly is full of stunning animation and imagery that's rarely seen in mainstream kids movies--calaca skeleton masks, mariachi outfits, and lush backdrops that look like a Dia de las Muertes megaofrenda come to life.
To be honest it is still probably going to be a great and interesting movie to watch and certainly original to the big screen however the similarities are so close I have to wonder if there was at all any influence from the classic game which begs the question, why not give some deserving credit to the game.
Here are some Grim Fandango images for you to compare and let us know what you think. Maybe I'm just over thinking this.