HOLLYWOOD—I remember the first “Cars” flick when it hit theaters back in 2006 where it was a favorite for my nephew who was only 4 at the time. Since then we had “Cars 2” which came and went; now we have the latest chapter, “Cars 3.” I went into the theater with low expectations, but found myself quite moved by the movie after exiting the theaters.

I’m an avid fan that animation flicks tend to be more entertaining than live-action films nowadays because they tend to have a strong message at the core, and “Cars 3” is no different. Back in the driver seat is Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) who is still heralded as the best driver in the world, well that is until Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer) steals his thunder in a race. After that defeat, McQueen starts to question his ability and it becomes an inner battle for him to dig deep to return to those glory days on the race track that so many have come to expect from him.

I love that the movie forces the viewer to question gifts that they have and rather they are able to rise to the occasion to prove their worth or give up on their dreams. It’s hard to fathom that an animated flick about talking cars can force us to take a moment to reflect on our own lives, but as a viewer you become so engulfed in the narrative it punches you in the core. Yes, kids might not see the message right away, but adults will.

There are a ton of characters in the movie, but notable favorites include Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy), Sally Carrera (voice of Bonnie Hunt), Smokey (voice of Chris Cooper), Sterling (voice of Nathan Fillion) and of course we can’t forget Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo). I love the character Mater who delivers plenty of laughs in my opinion, and as a viewer I was absolutely thrilled to see this Lightning McQueen’s evolution as the narrative propelled.

Both Cruz and McQueen find themselves in interesting predicaments questioning their life trajectory, careers and mistakes made in the past. As a result, both lean on one another for guidance support and the overall theme of going after your dreams at all costs and not allowing one’s success to be dictated by fear. I will be honest, I have never been a fan of racers, but for the strangest reason this movie educated me a bit about the level of skill that comes with racing a car and how the sport is not as simple as making laps, there comes plenty of strategy with the sport.

For those fans of the franchise, “Cars 3” is a worthy installment, and for those that have never seen any of the flicks, no worries, and the third chapter delivers a story that is fun, educational and thought-provoking.

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