The Longest Ride appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image.
On a smidgen of softness ever cropped up here, mainly in some low-light shots. Otherwise, the movie showed nice clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.
In terms of palette, Ride went with Hollywood Standard orange and teal. Overall, the hues were fine for their visual choices. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. This was a solid “B+“ presentation.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, it gave us competent sonics most of the time as well as a little pep on occasion. A drama like this didn’t need to boast a rock-em, sock-em mix, so the audio seemed acceptable. Usually, the soundfield didn’t have a lot to do; it concentrated on good stereo music and general ambience.
Every once in a while, though, the mix came to life. This was especially true during rodeo scenes as well as through short war sequences. These didn’t dazzle, but they gave the mix reasonable breadth.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music appeared fairly full; the score could’ve been a bit more vibrant, but it came across with reasonable definition. Effects remained clear and accurate, with some pretty solid low-end response during louder moments. This became a satisfying track.
In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from director George Tillman Jr. and actor Oona Chaplin. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, how Tillman came onto the project, cast and performances, sets and locations, story/character elements, music, editing, visual design and related topics.
Overall, this becomes a good chat. Despite some inevitable happy talk, Tillman and Chaplin interact well and they keep the piece going at a good pace. We learn a fair amount in this enjoyable conversation.
14 Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 19 minutes, 13 seconds. Some of these offer interesting character moments – such as a meeting between Ira and Luke that takes place earlier than Ira’s crash – but most seem pretty forgettable. They flesh out the roles in a minor way but since the movie already runs awfully long, I’m glad they were cut – well, except for the shot of Britt Robertson’s bare butt.
We can view the deleted/extended scenes with or without commentary from Tillman and Chaplin. They tell us about the sequences and why the material didn’t make the final cut. The commentary offers rudimentary details.
For comments from the author, we go to A Writer’s Journey: A Day in the Life of Nicholas Sparks. In this four-minute, 44-second piece, Sparks discusses his daily process as a writer. Though he conveys some actual insights, “Journey” mostly plays for laughs.
Four movie-making featurettes follow. We get Beyond the Ride (4:14), Bringing It to Life (4:33), Meet the Real Bull Riders (6:08) and Luke’s Bull Riding School (4:59). Across these, we hear from Sparks, Chaplin, Tillman, Professional Bull Riders Tour announcer Brandon Bates, bull riders Jerome Davis, Brant Atwood, Ryan Dirteater, Kody Lostoh, Matt Bohon, Luke Snyder, Tiago Riani, Markus Mariluch, Sean Willingham, Josh Faircloth, and JW Hart, Davis Rodeo Ranch’s Tiffany Davis, stunt coordinator Troy Brown, bull handler Reese Arnold, bull fighters Tyler Furr and Eric Kinner, and actors Alan Alda, Jack Huston, Britt Robertson, and Scott Eastwood.
The pieces discuss story/character areas, the North Carolina setting and Sparks’ inspirations, bull riding, and Eastwood’s training. A few decent facts emerge along the way, but the featurettes tend to be fluffy and without much merit.
A Gallery offers still materials. It features 25 photos that mix shots from the set and publicity elements. This becomes a mediocre collection.
The disc opens with ads for Paper Towns, The Best of Me and Far From the Madding Crowd. Sneak Peek also delivers promos for Safe Haven and If I Stay. We also find the trailer for Ride.
Compared to other films based on Nicholas Sparks’ novels, The Longest Ride shows relative restraint and subtlety. Unfortunately, it comes with two dull romantic narratives and never demonstrates enough personality to become interesting. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio as well as an erratic set of supplements. Ride might be the best flick based on a Sparks book, but it’s still forgettable.