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~ Thrax's most famous quote, as well as his introduction.
Ebola? Let me tell you something about Ebola, baby. Ebola is a case of... DANDRUFF compared to me!
~ Thrax, expressing his dislike of being compared to the Ebola virus.
Ya see this? This here little DNA bead comes from a little girl in Riverside, California. Didn't like to wash her hands. Took me three whole weeks. And this one, nice lady in Detroit, Motown; Six days flat. Then there's this old guy in Philly. I killed him in 72 hours. Yeah, I'm getting better as I go along, baby, but the problem is I never set a record! Until my man Frank, that is. I'm gonna take him down in 48 hours! Get my own chapter in the medical books!
~ Thrax talking to a group of germ thugs, explaining his wicked evil plan to break his record by killing Frank Detore in 48 hours.
Thrax is the main antagonist of 2001 Warner Bros. hybrid film Osmosis Jones. He is an extremely virulent, contagious and pestilential anthropomorphic virus, as well as a disturbingly vicious, dangerous and intimidating murderer, who strives to be remembered as the deadliest virus known to man. However, his plan was foiled by Osmosis the Jones (the protagonist of the film) and Drix (the deuteragonist of the film).
At first glance, Thrax appears to be collected, communicative, soft-spoken, suave and falsely polite, but he is actually a horrendous and loathsome monster. To his core, he is very cruel, violent, devilishly arrogant, greedy, heartless, destructive, boastful, completely remorseless and gleefully sadistic.
Thrax is notable for being a very dark and threatening villain in an otherwise lighthearted comedy. As a serial killer of the most heinous and detestable kind, he lives for the thrill of murder, which he regards as a challenge. He greatly delights in causing death and suffering to people and cells alike, and he is also intensely proud of his killing spree, often bragging about his many victims, among other displays of macabre and dark humor.
He always keeps a chain made of the DNA of all of his victims as a creepy and scary keepsake and often singsongs Peggy Lee's "Fever" song when spreading his disease as a twisted sense of irony. He had a brief comedic moment when he discovered Frank’s memories, remarking that he was sick even before he entered Frank’s body.
Thrax craves to attain infamy in medical books by breaking all records of deadliness. Every victim he has killed he has killed faster than the previous, with him wishing to kill Frank within 48 hours, so that the authors of medical books would give him an entire chapter about himself. He also has an extremely temperamental and volatile temper despite his often charming and respectful ways and often flies into short yet fiery rages at the prospect of obstacles. He prides himself in having never been spotted by his victims' organism before (until he entered Frank and Osmosis found out about him), and opposition only makes him more mad, depraved, reckless, psychopathic and unhinged.
Despite his violent tendencies, Thrax is also shown to be clever, cunning, dexterous, intelligent and knowledgeable about human anatomy; knowing how to blend among common viruses, how to cover his tracks, and were to strike as efficiently as possible. Yet, his obsession with keeping his perfect record at all costs would lead to his downfall.
Thrax is a one-of-a-kind virus, characterized as a very tall and strong humanoid clad in black, with a long black coat that enables him to glide in the air, and a pair of dark shades he often wears. He has red skin, purple tentacle-like dreadlocks, yellow eyes, fangs, and clawed fingers, with a long claw on his left index finger that can burn any cell it touches, be it living or material. His way of killing people is comparable to an extremely intense fever, raising the body heat until it can no longer bear it.
At the beginning of the story, Thrax enters the body of Frank DeTorre, an overweight widower without the slightest regard for hygiene and health, when the latter eats an egg that just spat by a monkey into a muddy floor. By doing so, he infiltrates the City of Frank, a huge metropolis inside Frank's body in which each of his body cells is living a life identical to that of humans, with white blood cells as cops and germs as criminals.
Thrax casually murders the two witnesses of his arrival and goes to the germs headquarters in Frank's armpit. There, he quickly takes control of the germs' gang by killing their leader Scabies; and plans to take advantage of Frank's poor health condition to operate undetected.
The titular primary protagonist is Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, one of Frank's white blood cells who was demoted from the police after he activated the emergency evacuation (i.e. throwing up), to get rid of germs from polluted oysters, which was seen as "unnecessary force".
He gets reluctantly teamed up with a rule-abiding cold pill named Drix (Drixenol) to investigate on a throat inflammation (in fact Thrax's doing), and they discover that something far more dangerous is going on. However, the incompetent and election-obsessed Mayor Phlegmming (who is to blame for Frank's disastrous lifestyle) dismisses their warnings and states that this is nothing more than a "common cold" after Thrax and his henchmen destroy the dam in the nose.
Jones uses his body-altering abilities to pass as a germ and infiltrates a meeting of Thrax and his thugs inside a zit to get in on what is going on. There, he discovers that Thrax is a deadly virus and serial killer whose purpose is to kill each person he contaminates faster than the last, and is now planning to murder Frank within 48 hours (which is faster than any virus has killed) so that he will be famous. When Ozzy is caught, Drix barges in just as Thrax was about to incinerate him. After a brief battle, the zit is destroyed in the explosion of a medicine grenade, killing most of Thrax's gang and seemingly Thrax himself as well.
Yet, the virus has survived and his hiding in a toenail with Joe Cramp and Bruiser left. As Thrax prepares to get back on schedule, Bruiser suggested they incubate for a while as they are few in numbers (which would mean that Thrax will not be able to break his record). Very angered, desperate and disillusioned, Thrax kills both Cramp and Bruiser in an explosion, heading off to finish things as a lone wolf.
Phlegmming fires both Ozzy and Drix, but they keep investigating nonetheless until they can be sure that Thrax is really gone. They go to the memory zone of the brain and discover that Thrax has broken in. Meanwhile, Leah Estrogen, the mayor's assistant, and Ozzy's love interest start suspecting that something is amiss, but even when he can no longer ignore the situation, Phlegmming keeps underestimating it. Leah starts her own investigation in the brain and stumbles upon Thrax, who stole a DNA bead from Frank's hypothalamus, causing his body temperature to skyrocket, and the entire city to be devastated in a fire, under Phlegmming's disbelieving and remorseful eyes.
Despite her activating the alarm and putting up quite a fight, Thrax takes Leah as a hostage to force Ozzy and Drix, who caught up with them, to let her go, but not before Drix could shoot Thrax's claw with a freezing blast, preventing him from using it.
As Frank is being rushed into the hospital in critical condition, Thrax triggers a sneeze to exit his body, followed by Ozzy who used Drix's cannon to propel himself after his foe, landing in Frank's daughter Shane's eye.
Ozzy and Thrax engage a fistfight, with Ozzy altering his body structure to better fight his foe, fighting him evenly. Unfortunately, the ice around Thrax's claw is shattered, and he manages to catch Ozzy before proceeding to strangle him with the DNA chain. However, he and Osmosis are sent flying by one of Shane's tears. Thrax attempts to stab Jones with his claw, gloating that he will break his record with Shane as soon as Frank dies, but Ozzie traps him on the girl's fake eyelash that is about to fall.
Ozzy clings to Shane's real eyelash, with the DNA chain still around his neck, while Thrax falls into a bottle of rubbing alcohol and dissolves and burns to death. Ozzy then uses Shane's teardrop to re-enter Frank's body and replace the stolen DNA, saving Frank's life in extremis.
As Frank is saved and vows to adopt a healthier lifestyle, Phlegmming is impeached (presumably replaced by his opponent, who unlike him actually cared about Frank's health) and Ozzy is appointed as an elite cop after being rehired by the police, with Drix as his partner and Leah as his girlfriend.
Think I’ll turn up the heat in here.
~ Thrax sets the boat on fire.
So, this is where the scum of Frank comes to fester.
~ Thrax upon meeting his soon-to-be minions
Sounds like a gas, baby. Bring it on.
~ Thrax to Scabies.
(Joe Cramp: What sickness do you have in mind, boss?) Deadly.
~ Thrax reveals that his disease is lethal
(Joe Cramp: Do you want me to take care of them.) No. Hit all the pressure valves, they're about to blow the scene.
~ Thrax ordering his minions to break the snot dam
Now all of this is coming down tonight so I want everyone to be prepared.
~ Thrax about to announce his plan.
Well, what do we have here? An officer of Frank's finest. Somebody lay down a towel. This is gonna be messy!
~ Thrax making an attempt to kill Osmosis Jones
They're making this too easy! Hahahahaha! You know, in all the bodies I've been in, no-one has ever gotten wise to me, and now for the first time, an immunity cell has figured out everything, and they don't believe him! Hahahahahaha! Can you taste the irony in that?
~ Thrax finding the fact that the first person who ever learned of his plans is ignored amusing.
YOU incubate! I said 48 hours, I'm gonna MAKE my deadline. Medical books aren't written about LOSERS!
~ Thrax killing the rest of his gang when they suggest laying low.
Whew. This cat was sick before I even got here.
~ Thrax after escaping the room full of Frank's memories.
Enjoy the funeral, boys!
~ Thrax escapes Frank's body
Just don’t know when to quit, do ya Jones?
~ Thrax about to battle Osmosis Jones in Shane’s eye.
You know what, Jones? You want this chain so bad, Big Daddy Thrax is gonna let you have it! Looks good on ya, Jones! You wear it well! It's a shame you had to come this far from home just to die.
~ Thrax strangling Osmosis Jones with the DNA chain.
Can you feel the heat, Jones? (laugh) Too bad you won't be here to see me break my record when I take down Frank's pretty little girl. (Ozzy: She ain't going down!) Huh? (Ozzy: YOU are!) WHAT?! NO!
~ Thrax's last words upon listening to Ozzy's response before falling into the fluid and desolving to his death.
Although he did not know it, Thrax getting his own chapter in the medical books would have also been his undoing if not for Ozzy and Drix, since the doctors would eventually discover how to cure him. However, how long this would take is unknown, meaning that Thrax may have been able to kill more victims, as well as Frank.
Furthermore, should Thrax succeed in killing Frank, he would've killed Shane at a faster time.
When asked what the story is with Frank, one of the doctors replies "I don't know. I don't know what it is.", meaning Thrax could be a new virus that developed.
Thrax's name comes from the real-life disease "anthrax", though Thrax cannot be likened to any real-life virus. However, the symptoms resemble an exceptionally violent version of Scarlet Fever or hyperpyrexia.
Thrax is described as La Muerta Roja (Red Death), in reference to the Edgar Allen Poe story "Masque of the Red Death"; however the symptoms of the disease in the story bare little resemblance to the symptoms caused by Thrax.
The song that Thrax hums throughout the film is called "Fever".
Despite the film's failure for critical viewers, Thrax has been praised, mostly due to the critism for the film was due to the live-action portions while the animated scenes were praised.
He may have inspired the other Osmosis Jones villain named "Scarlet Fever".
His design was inspired by Morpheus from The Matrix franchise, who was also portrayed by Laurence Fishburne.
Thrax is somewhat reminiscent of The Joker from Batman, part of the DC Universe and Scorpio from Dirty Harry.
LeVar Burton, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Patrick Stewart, Robert Downey Jr., Mike Myers, and Chuck Norris were all considered for the role of Thrax.