The wife and I had our first date night in about 9 months. My brother volunteered to watch the kiddo and we took some time for ourselves to kick back and relax a little. We decided to get some food, some coffee and see The Muppets.

After the movie let out and we realized that it was the first (and only) movie we’ve seen ALL YEAR. We didn’t go earlier this year because we were at the end of our pregnancy and going out was just not in the cards. Then we had our baby and, well, babies take up 210% of your time. We had watched a couple things on PPV, mostly whatever came out in the spring/summer and was available, but we hadn’t actually been to a theater all year. It also made me realize how completely unnecessary it is. There something to be said for the large screen, the surround sound and the “experience”, but it’s only by the slimmest margins that it’s better than a home theater experience these days. Especially for anything other than large action movies, which we rarely see. Documentaries look just fine on my plasma and, at $5 for a PPV or $0 for streaming across my PS3, it sure beats the $10 a ticket and $20 in popcorn we got.

I digress. I’m not here to talk about how staying at home is cheaper and, with the current level of stupid people in society, more enjoyable than going out. I’m here to talk about Muppets. The sweet sweet goodness of the Muppets.

I’m not sure I could have picked a better movie to be the movie we saw this year. I enjoyed it completely from start to finish. I’d even put it above a couple of the classics. It’s certainly better than The Great Muppet Caper, and right on par with Muppets Take Manhattan.

It was giant “kid smile” inducing from start to finish. The one thing that did kind of bug me was the ending. Just slightly.

I understand the “becoming man, becoming muppet” motif. I understand the “we’ll press on, let’s stick together” as they walk out of the theater. I even understand the “we don’t need the building to be happy/together” idea. They could have actually let Tex take the building and have made a stronger statement that it’s your friends and family that are important, not old buildings. But the post-credits, bowling ball to the head, change of heart? I dunno, that was kind of weak. I understand that they needed to get the “muppet” name back somehow, but why was that even a plot point in the first place? That the concept of “who you are” would be up for grabs, and that Kermit would sign it away in the first place is preposterous, and using it as something that needed to be saved was unnecessary. They could have just left it as the building. Or, if they absolutely needed to ratchet up the pressure, could have included Kermits house, or the rights to all their acts or songs (which, from a legal stand point, is more legitimate).

Then, to have that resolved AFTER the characters make peace with losing it seems to dull the “lesson learned” at the end of the film. Then to have a bowling ball, brain-damage, change of heart, while the credits are rolling, just seems to suggest that it was an after thought. That it was a Disney decision to protect THEIR rights to the Muppet name. Did the Disney legal department tell them that losing the Muppet name IN a movie could do brand damage to the franchise or something? It just seemed unnecessary.

The Muppets should have either “won” with Walters last song, or they should have lost the building and learned the lesson that their friendship is more important than any piece of property. Either of those would have been acceptable. Trying to ride the fence and play both sides just confused the issues.

In the end, it’s excusable and it didn’t really bother me that much. I had enjoyed the movie so much to that point that I honestly didn’t care. Jason Seigel and Amy Adams did an awesome job. As far as human cast went, they were perfect. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better return of the Muppets. I only hope that from this rekindling of the franchise we get an occasional movie every couple years and not a deluge movies every Thanksgiving or something crazy like that. As much as I’d love to see more Muppets, Disney needs to treat them like Pixar and let them do their own thing, and not like some of their other properties that they’ve run into the ground.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something fun to watch and haven’t see it, I’d highly recommend it. Awesome, awesome movie.