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April 17, 2014

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Photos: Jon Landau talks IGT’s ‘Avatar’ slot machines unveiled at G2E

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Steve Marcus

Movie producer Jon Landau poses with Na’vi warriors as actor Stephen Lang looks on during the G2E convention at the Sands Expo Center on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

2013 Global Gaming Expo

Sami Goldsmith, left, Porsche Youssef, center, and Jackie Unterreiner promote the Sweet 3 video slot machine by IGT during the G2E convention at the Sands Expo Center Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013.  Launch slideshow »

The big buzz at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) is the IGT slot machine debut of two games based on James Cameron’s “Avatar,” the highest-grossing film of all time. I got two questions in to Hollywood producer Jon Landau at the launch dinner Tuesday night at Twist in Mandarin Oriental.

Jon explained the magic that made “Avatar” such a success: “ ‘Avatar’ works because it has universal themes. I think if you look at ‘Avatar,’ the movie begins and ends with Jake opening his eyes. So I think thematically the movie is a challenge for people to open their eyes. Now what does that mean? That means many different things. It means open your eyes and don’t judge people by their color. To fall in love with someone you’re not supposed to fall in love with.

“Or thematically, the idea that the least likeliest of heroes can both literally and metaphorically rise out of a wheel chair and lead a race of people to save a planet. These are big, universal things. The three words in the movie, I see you, everybody wants to be seen. People want to be seen and recognized for who they are. These are some of the reasons that that movie works as well as it does.”

That made me wonder how it translates from a 3D giant-screen sensation into a slot-machine experience. He responded: “I think the way it translates is that if you look at what the slot machine has to offer, it again offers you a way back into the movie. When you’re sitting down at these slot machines, you are reminded of what you’ve experienced there.

“If you haven’t, you’re also inspired to see things differently. You see things differently when you meet the banshees and you have a Na’vi going there and you have a different view. When you walk away from the game, I think your eyes have been opened like Jakes’.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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