"War for the Planet of the Apes" is the third movie in the reboot, occurring seventeen years after the first. The apes led by Caesar are living in a forest when a rogue military unit led by "the Colonel" finds them. The Colonel is obsessed with wiping out the apes. A new virus is affecting humans. The movie evolves into a prison escape movie as Caesar and most of his tribe get captured. The screenwriter tries to be inventive, but most of the elements are cribbed from other movies. It combines revenge and prison escape The virus subplot is gimmicky and the Colonel is cartoonish.
In "Independence Day", giant alien spacecraft arrive and hover over key cities. They prove to be unfriendly when they start destroying our great landmarks. Lucky for Earthlings, we have an alien fighter and a hot shot pilot who can fly anything. An eccentric genius and the pilot will fly into the alien mother ship to break down their defenses in coordination with an assault led by the President himself. Does that sound unintellectual? Well, it is. The movie is full of stereotypes and clichés. It is all very predictable in its entertainment for the masses.
The strategy of the apes is to avoid contact with the humans and the Colonel's plan is search and destroy. Same strategies as in the Indian Wars (which makes the movie similar to "Avatar"). In the opening attack, the humans sneak up on an ape outpost and make a frontal assault. Neither side is big on security. And the screenwriter is unfamiliar with flanking. In the final battle, the human army attacking the Colonel's fortress uses simple frontal tactics with a bit of air support. They could have blasted the fortress from afar, but where's the fun in that.
The alien plan in ID is to cow the world by destroying its major cities. The tactic is not exactly sneaky, you just hover and then use the energy beam. If attacked, their fighters use swarm tactics in defense and also can be used for strafing enemy bases. The Earthling strategy is your standard panic and run. Until the scientists come up with the computer virus gambit. The tactic involves a frontal assault with no diversion and an infiltration using a Trojan Horse. The alien strategy and tactics make perfect sense and yet they lose to morons. But then again, the aliens aren't suspicious about a fifty-year old Attacker (fighter space craft).
There's nothing special in this area in "Planet". The movie is set in the future, but it is not futuristic. The apes use arrows predominately and the humans have a variety of current machine guns, although one has an anachronistic crossbow.
In ID, the Americans use F/A - 18 Hornets and nothing else! Their missiles have no effect on the alien spacecraft. One use of a nuclear missile fails against the alien force field. The aliens have giant City Destroyers that do what their names imply with some type of energy beam. They can not be hurt by any Earth weapons, but are susceptible to computer viruses. But what are the chances a virus can be introduced from within the ship? The fighters are called Attackers and are your standard Star Wars style craft. They are extremely agile which make them very hard to defeat in a dog-fight. With their projectile shields, they are vulnerable to only cliff walls. They fire energy projectiles. Nothing you haven't seen before. The CGI for the apes is incredible. The movie used a combination of CGI and motion capture. There is not much special effects aside from the apes. The final battle is mostly explosions. It was nominated for the Oscar for Best Special Effects.
ID had a record number of special effects shots. It incorporated both CGI and miniatures. The White House was a model. The results are famous. Unfortunately, the dog-fights are generic and not an improvement on the first "Star Wars". The creatures are silly looking. It won the Oscar for Best Special Effects. Neither movie fits comfortably in the tournament. Although "Planet" has the word war in the title, it is not really a war movie. If anything, it is a prison escape movie. What little combat it has is simplistic. No effort was put into the weaponry, other than the odd inclusion of a crossbow for a main character. The strategy and tactics are unimportant to the story line. It is an entertaining movie with its hero ape and dastardly humans, but the plot is unimaginative. The real reason to watch it is for the astounding CGI. "Independence Day" is one of the most intelligence-insulting movies ever made. More than in most sci-fi movies featuring an alien invasion, the aliens are totally dominant. But once again, as in all movies with this plot, humans manage to overcome in a totally unrealistic way. There is no excuse for the cheesiness of the plot other than it resulted in huge box office.