El Corpse Dorado Bride

Something about the character designs for Tim Burton’s upcoming stop motion film THE CORPSE BRIDE have annoyed me since I first saw them. The extreme deep-set eyes, flat cheeks and awkward definition of the mouth area look, well, rather wrong, for lack of a better word. The main characters look Burton-esque, but they lack the distinctive graphic shapes and raw charm of the designs Burton created for THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Yesterday, the NEW YORK TIMES explained why CORPSE BRIDE looks the way it does when they published a profile on the film’s character’s designer, Carlos Grangel. Burton apparently did rough character concepts for the film, but then handed off final design duties to Grangel, who is a regular character designer at DreamWorks, and has designed on films like THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO and SPIRIT. After realizing this connection, it becomes pretty hard to miss the design similarities between CORPSE BRIDE and late-90s hand-drawn DreamWorks cartoons. And believe me, that’s a connection I hoped I’d never have to make for a Tim Burton film.

CORPSE BRIDE and EL DORADO comparison