Moqi Song feels the weight of responsibility in his career. That might seem unwarranted to most of us as he is continually sought out to contribute for films seeking to utilize his extraordinary skill. As a previs and postvis artist he has contributed to the stunning visuals of films like Shazam 2, Thor: Love and Thunder (specifically in manifesting Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi’s character Korg, in addition to other aspects), and others. In the production process， Moqi was personally tapped by MPC's Head of Visualization, Patrick Smith, and Head of Animation, Luis F. Andrade, to contribute to the fight animation for the Autobot core portion of Transformers: Rise of the Beast. The Transformers franchise rests on the work of artists like Moqi perhaps more than any other in the realm of Science Fiction. A voracious megafan of Gundam (the Japanese military sci-fi franchise created by Yoshiyuki Tomino), Moqi has long been prepared for working on a Transformers film. What he (along with his fellow artists) have created for this latest production sets a new premier standard for what can be achieved in imaginative filmmaking. His year-long efforts are an essential part of the astonishing visual personality of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
The tale of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts rests on the same principles of drama as Shakespeare, the Bible, and Dostoevsky; the battle of good versus evil will effect all in existence. Modern filmmaking has made it possible for us to view a world that seems as fantastic as any metaphysical experience, due to the skill of those like Moqi Song. While the writers of this film certainly want us to cheer for the Autobots and humans who aid them, it’s impossible to not be fascinated by the antagonists of this film who are depicted with such majesty and power. From the dark god Unicron to the 1990’s era Porsche/Autobot Mirage, there’s a believability to all of the larger than life characters in this film; one which rebukes the notion that they are not in fact real. This is the essential component of films like this, the fact that professionals like Moqi have such extraordinary talent that they allow us to buy into this reality. While the impressive cast that includes the likes of Peter Dinklage (winner of four Primetime Emmy Awards) as the Terrorcon leader Scourge, Ron Perlman (Primetime Emmy nominee) as Optimus Primal (a Maximal – part gorilla/part Autobot), and Pete Davidson (People’s Choice Award nominee) as Mirage, there’s no miscommunication that the real allure of this film is in the fantastic characters manifested by artists like Moqi.
While the look of this film is certainly grand in scale, Moqi professes that much of what makes his work communicate properly on the screen is the attention to minor details. The process is not simply one of executing a plan from point A to point Z. Referring to a scene that happens at approximately the 01:07:39 mark as a trio of Autobots fly down from the roof and jump to the ground, Moqi informs, “The first version I made of the Autobots deformation down onto the ground seemed to take up too much of the frame and robbed the scene of the dynamic I felt it could have. I went back to the scene and, instead of having all three transform simultaneously, I had one start and then the other two deform right as they landed. The pace and the lack of uniformity made this a much more interesting moment.” This description sounds much like a studio musician altering a part to elevate the entire ensemble sound for a song. It also relates the concept that someone like Moqi who works with computers is still very much a professional employed for his sensitive creativity as his technical mastery. The epic final battle of this story contains a great deal of Moqi’s work. The scenes attest to both his immense ability as well as to the high regard the creators of this film hold him in. Moqi professes that same admiration for the team stating, “Even after ten years in the industry, this was a new experience for me. I learned a great deal from the challenge of what we created for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. I put a lot of pressure on myself to understand that the movements of mechanical life forms are different from the movement techniques I had learned before. In preparing, I re-watched all the Transformers movies to select the clips of the Autobots’ fights and dialogues, and repeated them. I learned the range of motion and then produced it. I think that’s what I love so much about this job, you push yourself to learn and evolve and then the next project forces you to do even better.”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is available on Paramount Plus, Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, and Apple TV.