I won’t even call it a palate cleanser. The holiday slowdown being what it is, this is probably the biggest news story of the day.

Something like 98 percent of our readers, I expect, know and care more about the LOTR series than I do so I’ll spare you the perfunctory run-through of the movie’s tortured production history, Jackson’s use of a higher frame rate for hyperclarity, etc etc. Even if I can’t share the excitement, I can understand it: The buzz reminds me of the anticipation we all felt for “The Phantom Menace” before we saw it and realized Lucas had apparently suffered a grievous head injury in the years since “Return of the Jedi.” Jackson’s follow-up can’t possibly disappoint the way that film did. Looks like a fanboy’s dream come true.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that a bunch of dwarves taking an epic journey to reclaim a lost kingdom from an evil dragon sounds an awful lot like the narrative of the election. Mitt Romney = Bilbo Baggins?