Wah®: A Film For The Tumblr Generation


I recently found my father going through his desk. Pops is a writer who survives on Adderall and murder mysteries but has given up his dreams and is now writing for TV and movies to pay for my schooling and healthcare.

"I have all these files on my computer," he said, "all of these notebooks filled with ideas for plays that I’ve always wanted to write. And then I look over at the new draft of the screenplay for that King Arthur thing the producers sent over, and I think, well, looking at all of these sword and sandal projects, all of this super-serious adventure stuff, I guess this is what selling out must be."

What’s hep in Hollywood these days doesn’t interest my pops: script after script of royal Victorian dramas, medieval fantasy action movies, and family science-fiction adventure comedies that contain themes that speak to young people all while remaining politically correct and making sure to find a strong female lead; there’s no room in his profession for hard-boiled detectives doing inner monologues. It needs to be "more Tumblr friendly," as the studio puts it.

So, unable to cheer up my father, I’ve decided to cheer up myself and celebrate the modern Hollywood blockbuster by unveiling the plot to a new epic feature film that has yet to be written.

<h3>Wah®: The Beginning</h3>


In a dark science-fantasy reimagining of Disney’s Mulan, Shan Yu (Hugh Dancy), a misunderstood Xiongnu water boy, learns that he is a prophesied hero who must leave his home in Imperial Chinese space. He does so reluctantly, in the Campbellian tradition, leaving his village with only his sidekick, alien janitor Spike Manson (voice of Chris Rock).

Along the way, they meet Sparky Lewis (Shaileene Woodly), a tomboyish, fun-loving princess who suffers from schizophrenia. Sparky simply wants to find love, but not with a man, a woman, a human, or any genus of living creature, plants included. Her father disapproves of this but is not able to focus on changing her, as he is under attack by the Lord of Wongcaster (pronounced “Chester”), King Bledley (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Eventually, Sparky is able to fend off the Wongcaster invasion by organizing a social-justice group on Tumblr, her triumph indebting her father to her, who in return allows her to not marry whomever she wants. Sparky, Shan Yu, and Spike (“Now who says dat hashtag activism don’t work? Nah me, I’m not saying that.”) journey off to Wongcaster, where King Bledley has laid out a trap for them. (‘Now dat is what I call a trap!) While the nature of the trap is not really clear and probably too confusing for the audience to understand, it probably has something to do with, like, morality or something, and, like, darkness, and someone saying the word hero a lot in a mocking tone.

Soon afterward Shan Yu is beaten and thrown into a dungeon deep inside the core of Wongcaster. He befriends a prisoner, Ash (Jackie Earl Haley), a revolutionary anarchist who shares with Shan Yu a love of young adult books. Ash and Shan Yu are constantly playing pranks on the closed-minded warden, Burt Blechman (Viggo Mortensen, in a soon-to-be award near-missing performance).

Meanwhile, Sparky finds herself in love when she meets a rock (Channing Tatum) who also finds itself not attracted to living creatures, but she is broken up when she is turned away by it for exactly that reason. Her heart broken, Sparky checks into treatment, where she finds a legitimate way of solving her problems (“Now dat’s what I call checking yourself into treatment!” Spike quips.)

Soon Blechman has Ash drawn and quartered in a fit of rage. In his dying moments, Ash bequeaths his massive stockpile of Judy Bloom novels to Shan Yu, which Shan promises to keep safe. Now alone in the dungeons of Wongcaster, Shan confronts Blechman (“Now it’s personal, Warden,”) and conducts an escape by setting the Judy Bloom books on fire.

Shan travels up to the surface of Wongcaster only to hear from Lord Bledley (“How does that feel, hee-ro? How? How?”) that Sparky has killed herself. Bereft at this, Shan overdoses on cough syrup, which is a serious problem among adolescents today that we should be having an open conversation about in our communities.

However, it is revealed that Sparky lives and has successfully gotten over her depression through her proactive involvement in treatment. Finding Shan Yu dead on the ground, (“I tried to stop him!’ Spike says in a heartbreakingly eloquent speech), Sparky slits her wrists with her Arcade Fire tickets, which she’d bought to celebrate her discharge. Spike, only having the choice of saving one of them (“Now dat is a choice!”) administers an antidote to Shan Yu, who wakes up crying when he sees Sparky. Remembering what Ash taught him in prison (“If I ever pass out, give me a handjob”), Shan begins to masturbate Huan in a nonsexual, purely platonic fashion. This example of true non-romantic love wakes up Huan, who promptly uses the coping mechanisms that she learned in treatment to stop her wrists from bleeding.

At this point Warden Blechman and King Bledley, holding Huan’s unrequited love, the rock, reveal themselves to have been watching the entire time and have yet another trap up their sleeves. They reveal that the rock, in fact, has been working for King Bledley the entire time and intentionally pressured Sparky to kill herself by turning her down. (‘To think you were foolish enough to trust him, heeeee-ro,” Lord Bledley says.)

Sparky gets an idea. Using her laptop ability, she begins a Change.org petition to have Wongcaster’s parliament replaced entirely by rocks (“I learned something when you betrayed me,” Sparky says to Tatum’s character, “and it’s that you can easily influence a rock.”) Bledley and Blechman, horrified, immediately resign their positions after the petition reaches six signatures, all of which originate from Madison, Wisconsin.

Overjoyed at her triumph in civil-rights organization, Sparky decides that she doesn’t need love, or not love, or anything besides her MacBook, and she retires to the leper village of Monosyllable. Shan Yu, now alone again, besides for Spike (‘Now dat’s what I call change!’) journeys finally to Space Station Han, where he finds that King Bledley and Emperor Nigelshire of Imperial Chinese space (Rupert Everett), have teamed up to stop him from fulfilling the prophecy. Bledley, Pleg, and Pleg’s pet rat, Plesch (voice of Miguel Ferrer) then team up against Shan Yu to kill him once and for all.

Using the knowledge he gained from reading Judy Bloom in prison, Shan Yu causes Pleg to explode with his anecdotes concerning the life of a teenage girl coming of age. Bledley surrenders, and Plesch asks to become Shan Yu’s slave, which Shan Yu passes on, as, even being an ancient Chinese space traveler, he still has the morals of a 20th=century liberal.

Shan Yu, having not gotten the girl and exercised a predictable attempt at unpredictability in the movie world, becomes the superhero Wah® (“Now dat’s what I call defeating the emperor and his henchman and becoming the superhero Wah®!” Spike says, exercising his wit.)

It is revealed that Shan Yu had been the vigilante he wanted to become the entire time (Don’t you see, heeeeer-ro? You were Wah® the entire time, he-ro. Didn’t you realize? Didn’t you? Didn’t you?)

Wah®, now, accompanied by his peasant sidekick Morose Boy (Dane Dehaan), promises to protect Imperial Chinese Space from bigoted WASP- sounding Britannic snobs, and also a sequel. Having accepted his being a virgin and a superhero, Shan Yu/Wah® winks at the camera (“You know,” Spike says, “when this whole thing started, you weren’t a supahero. To think a dat, ol’ Shan boy, ta think a dat…”)

Roll credits.