Plot: What’s it about?
Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) is a professional bull rider who is injured during a ride one night. We then cut to one year later and he meets Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) and they eventually start dating. Sophia is reluctant at first because she’s going to be moving to New York in a couple of months. Luke is pretty set with sticking to bull riding as well, but the two of them continue to date anyway. One rainy night when they’re driving, they spot a car that has hit a guardrail and crashed. There’s an old man in it, and Luke rescues him. He’s out of it, but he is able to ask Sophia to recover the box from the backseat of his car. She does. They get the man to the hospital, and eventually he learns that the two of them played a role in saving his life. Sophia visits him frequently and he begins to share the story of the box and how he met the love of his life. Ira Levinson (Alan Alda) is the man and the story cuts back and forth from his story many decades earlier to the present day. The younger Ira played by actor Jack Huston really doesn’t favor Alda in the slightest. This was a problem I had with the recent The Best of Me where the story cut back and forth with different actors playing the same character. It’s sometimes a distraction that takes you out of the movie when the two actors looks so different. It should be noted that both, Ride and Best of Me are based off of Novels by none other than Nicholas Sparks.
I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Nicholas Sparks. Usually if a movie is based on his work, it comes with serious baggage. One can expect plenty of melodrama, and usually a death or two, among other things. Thankfully, Ride avoids a lot of the usual issues I have, but that still doesn’t make it a great film. Luke and Sophia’s story is far more interesting than Ira’s, but the movie keeps cutting back to that. When we reach the conclusion we can see why, but I still think their story should’ve been the primary focus. You have to wonder why even bring Ira into it. It’s almost as if they felt as if their story couldn’t stand on its own. Actually, there’s very little going on here below the surface. Luke loves riding, and despite a serious injury, continues to ride bulls. Sophia is set with pursuing her career as well. Beyond that, there’s just not much else here. The cast is surprisingly good for this type of film, but I can’t say I cared much about the characters. The film does succeed in ways other films like this fail. We don’t get the seemingly mandatory villain role, there’s an emotional scene near the end, but thankfully a tragic ending is avoided. It’s also nice that the movie doesn’t throw us a curveball where Luke has to play hero again. He does save Ira at the beginning of the film, but that’s only because that character is part of the story. Other Sparks’s stories would’ve thrown a random car wreck or burning building to the end of the film for dramatic effect. Thankfully that doesn’t happen here. Still, The Longest Ride didn’t leave me with much. The most I can say about it is that I didn’t hate it. That means little else as the movie still didn’t stick with me.
Video: How’s it look?
Visually this looks about as we’d expect it to. It leaves a little bit to the imagination and that’s a bit strange considering that it’s brand new to Blu-ray. Fox usually does a fine job with the 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer, although the colors don’t pop quite as much as I’d expected. The palette used is a bit on the desaturated side and this does give way to some rosy-ness in regards to the flesh tones. Contrast is strong and detail level is consistent with most any new movie. I doubt people will find much to complain about, the movie looks perfectly acceptable, just not as “acceptable” as I’d have thought.
Audio: How does it sound?
The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments here, but they’re few and far between. Granted there are a few moments of glory and, yeah, this is a romance movie and that’s not the way things work. Dialogue is very sharp and strong and though the LFE does stretch its legs a few times, most of the action is relegated to the front stage. Like the video, the audio isn’t anything earth shaking, but it won’t disappoint either.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director George Tillman, Jr. and Oona Chaplin combine for a fairly routine track that tells us the usual thing: casting, adapting yet another Sparks’ book into a film and some of the shooting details. Nothing mind-blowing here, but fans might want to give it a listen.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – Available with commentary by George Tillman, Jr. and Oona Chaplin, but nothing too earth shattering. At 139 minutes, the film is on the longer side already and these were obviously struck for a reason.
- A Writer’s Journey: A Day in the Life of Nicholas Sparks – Evidently this is not in real time as we don’t learn a lot in the 5 minutes it takes to watch.
- Beyond the Ride – Some interviews with the cast and crew bout this “amazing” movie.
- Bringing it to Life – Author Nicholas Sparks and actor Alan Alda chat it up for a few minutes.
- Meet the Real Bull Riders – Probably the most entertaining feature is this in which some real life bull riders are profiled.
- Luke’s Bull Riding School – We see the son of “Dirty Harry” himself train for his role in the film.
- Gallery – Pretty self-explanatory, just a gallery of stills from the film.
- Theatrical Trailer
- Digital HD Copy
The Bottom Line
While better than I had anticipated, Ride still didn’t leave me with much. There’s just not much here below the surface, and the characters were rather dull. This in addition to the interweaving stories don’t help matters. Skip it.