RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Fan frenzy is building with the approach of the latest "Star Trek" movie, opening in thousands of theaters across the country this weekend. Although it's the 11th film with "Star Trek" in the title, this one goes back to the beginning of the story. The main characters are of the original "Star Trek," Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu - they're all played by a young cast.
In this movie, they come together on the starship Enterprise for the first time. The story is an attempt to hook a new generation of fans, and as NPR's Margo Adler reports, old fans are divided.
MARGO ADLER: If you wander around the Internet, there are already reviews of the new "Star Trek" film. Most are positive, saying Director J.J. Abrams has brought new life to the franchise. But some fans, particularly people who watched the original series as kids, feel the ads on television are not talking to them.
(Soundbite of movie, "Star Trek")
Mr. KARL URBAN (Actor): (As Dr. McCoy) Leonard McCoy.
Mr. CHRIS PINE (Actor): (As James Kirk) Jim Kirk.
ADLER: It's not the sound or the dialog or the blockbuster special effects that bother old-time fans. It's the slogans that cross the screen: This is not your father's "Star Trek," and forget everything you know.
Ms. SHARON MARTIN (Star Trek Fan): I'm a Trekkie. That's the term that's bad, that people don't like. But I am. I don't care.
ADLER: Sharon Martin, who began watching Star Trek at age 11, says it's almost like they're dissing the generations who have grown up on "Trek." So when it comes to this movie…
Ms. MARTIN: I guess I'm not going to it. They keep running this ad on TV, and it says: Forget everything you know, or something. This does not seem like it's a positive come-on to somebody like me.
ADLER: She loves J.J. Abrams' other work. She loves "Lost," so she backtracks a little.
Ms. MARTIN: Maybe I'm just being a crabby middle-aged woman. He may make a fabulous film, and I will watch it on DVD.
Mr. JOHN ORDOVER ("Star Trek" Fan): This "Star Trek" is extremely respectful of, quote, "you father's Star Trek," unquote.
ADLER: John Ordover is one of the biggest "Star Trek" fans you will ever meet. He started watching the show when he was six, and while he's in marketing now, he edited the "Star Trek" novels for 10 years and wrote two episodes of "Deep Space Nine."
Mr. ORDOVER: It seems to me they have found an absolutely brilliant way to simultaneously show tremendous respect for everything that's gone before while wiping the slate clean and being able to present the story fresh from the beginning.
ADLER: Ordover believes a lot of today's television and movie fair is dark and bleak, like "24."
Mr. ORDOVER: And "Star Trek" comes along and says we're the anti-"24." We're the flip side. We're the we will get along. We will make it work.
ADLER: At its core, he says America is an optimistic country and "Star Trek" has always said the future is going to be a fun place to live, and we will overcome our petty differences.
Mr. ORDOVER: It's always been hopeful when everything else has been bleak, and being hopeful has been thought to be naïve. And hopefully, now that we have a Vulcan as president, it will be seen that being hopeful is not.
ADLER: Wait, wait, wait. Stop right there. A Vulcan as president? Come on, he says, the coolness - almost too cool.
Mr. ORDOVER: He's tall. He's thin. He has the ears - although they're a little bit bobbed.
ADLER: You may think Ordover is off his rocker, but this idea takes center stage in the May 4th edition of Newsweek, with a full-page picture of Spock in the blue, red, black and white colors of that famous Obama poster. All this may not affect movie sales, or help us know if we're going to go boldly where no one has gone before. But like "Star Trek," it's fun to ponder.
Margo Adler, NPR News.
MONTAGNE: Whether you're a Trekkie, old or young, or just curious, you can watch clips from the movie on our Web site at npr.org.