The first couple of minutes of footage from Brave are out, and not only are they awesome, they contain the best riff on bodice-ripping ever:
We were talking about female action stars and the need to think more creatively about action choreography for women, and Brave and The Hunger Games both seem to me like they might provide an answer for how to design action setpieces that acknowledge that women may be less physically powerful than male foes. Sharp-shooting, something at which both Brave heroine Merida and The Hunger Games’ heroine Katniss Everdeen excel, distances a woman from her target, and eliminates the physical disparities between them and their opponents, be those opponents large bears wandering the Scottish Highlands or tributes from other districts who intend to murder you on live television.
If you want to get into hand-to-hand combat, traditional weapons or contrasting martial arts styles could also make for action scenes that are more interesting and that allow women to fight plausibly against men who are larger or stronger than they are. One of the things that was fun about the core fight scene in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the way the two fighters moved from weapon to weapon so you could see the advantage of a heavier staff that could do more damage against a lighter, quicker one. It’d be fun to see a woman use muay thai, for example, against a heavy who has no particular style but relies on bigness and brute strength for advantage. It’s no mistake that probably the best action sequence of the last five years, the parkour-inflected chase between James Bond and the terrorist at the beginning of Casino Royale, put styles in witty conversation and said a great deal almost without a word of dialogue.